Special Education

In a Norwegian context, special education primarily refers to teaching given pursuant to the rights formulated in section 5 of the Education Act, while special needs education is used to describe the field that qualifies for special education.

The Norwegian word spesialundervisning itself is probably derived from the English word special education, which covers both special education and special needs education.

The historically-strong tradition of special education and special needs education in Norway is linked to the ideology of one school for all – in current terminology often referred to as an inclusive school – for a long time having had a strong position in our legislation, rules and our curricula.

There is strong wording in sections 1 and 5, among other places, of the present Education Act. Section 1 states that education shall be adapted to the abilities and aptitudes of each pupil. Section 5 demands that if a pupil does not or cannot receive proper academic benefit from the ordinary teaching, the pupil may receive an expert assessment, which in turn may result in an individual decision triggering the right to special education. It is understood that special education is dependent on both financial and academic resources (special needs expertise) being procured.

Research groups

All research groups affiliated with the Department of Special Needs Education conduct research within this field. 

  • Child Language & Learning (CLL)
  • Learning, mastery and quality of life for children at risk
  • Quality improvement of inclusive and adapted education: curriculum planning, the teacher's role and the role of school managers
  • Knowledge generation in the practice field of special needs education (KiSP)
  • Disruptive behavior in schools
  • International Adoption and Migration: learning, identity and competence  

Related study programmes


Published Mar. 8, 2013 8:50 AM - Last modified July 6, 2017 2:25 PM