Norway's best mathematicians

The results of this past autumn’s national tests have just been published. Recently-started lower secondary school Norges Realfagsgymnas Ungdomsskole shared the top slot in arithmetic with Tolga Ungdomsskole in Nord-Østerdal. Norge Realfagsgymnas Ungdomsskole is part of the biggest push ever to promote maths and science subjects in Norwegian schools.

Inspired by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO)

Roger Elstad was first struck by the idea of starting an elite school for maths and science subjects at lower and upper secondary levels in 2011. Back in 1981, he founded the elite sports school Norges Toppidrettsgymnas (NTG).  NHO Director General Kristin Skogen Lund inspired Elstad in the following quote from an article in Aftenposten in 2011:

“Why can we not encourage talent and enthusiasm in the fields of, for example, maths and science subjects in the same way that we do in music and sports? Why does a 13-year old maths prodigy have to follow the same curriculum as everyone else in the same year, instead of getting the right challenges at the right time?”

Starting schools – a hobby

After six years of unpaid work and one million kroner, Norge Realfagsgymnas Ungdomsskole was born in Bærum outside Oslo. This is a project that Elstad undertook without any expectations or possibility of financial return, since dividend payments from private schools receiving State subsidies are prohibited.

“I look at this as a meaningful hobby. So far, we have founded a lower secondary school here in Bærum, and next autumn an upper secondary maths and science school will open in Sandvika. Our ambition going forward is for the number of schools to continue expanding, along the same lines as NTG.”

Modified date: Thursday, December 7, 2017