Edvard Botterli Udnæs (20)
Leader of the Student Organization
It is reasonable to demand that the school be free.
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We are proud of our welfare state. We have a social mobility that other countries can dream of, and it is not without reason that we are one of the richest countries in the world.
One of the pillars of the Norwegian welfare state is equal access to education. Fellesskolen is a cross-party project that everyone is very proud of. But unfortunately we do not get far with pride when the Norwegian school is not free.
It is difficult to manage without upper secondary education in Norway. Therefore, we have both a right to start and to complete high school. It is reasonable to demand that the school be free.
Expensive school equipment
All students must buy equipment the school does not offer. This can be anything from computers to protective equipment. To solve this problem we have the equipment grant. The equipment scholarship will ensure that everyone, regardless of finances, is equal in education.
In 2019, the consulting company Rambøll carried out one investigation about whether the equipment grant was good enough. It showed that only one study program had a good enough scholarship. Then the warning lights should light up red.
Three state budgets have been presented following that report. We still need around 114 million kroner before the students’ equipment is free, but the problem does not stop there.
Far below the poverty line
Last school year, around 24,000 students moved away from home to go to school. For these students we have borteboerstipendet. It costs to move away from home. Therefore, the state will help you.
The away resident scholarship this school year is 4200 kroner a month. According to EU definitions this is around 15,000 kroner a month below the poverty line.
It does not require a master’s degree in economics to understand that it is difficult to live on NOK 4,200 a month. A couple of weeks ago wrote NRK Nordland about 19-year-old Elias Jonassønn. He had to take out a loan to be able to live away, and still struggled to get his finances going. Even with meals from school, scholarships from the state, and a loan, he struggles to survive.
Empty words and pocket rubbish
The government and SV promise to reduce the social differences in the school. IN The Hurdal platform it states that the government will review the scholarship schemes and consider increases. In the state budget for 2022, Norwegian expatriates get the whole 170 kr extra a month, and the equipment grant stands still.
They could just as easily have saved the words in the platform and the rags in the state budget, because this is ridiculous. It is unnecessary with studies that tell what we already know, or have been carried out before. And the increase in the expatriate scholarship is nothing but symbolic politics.
Norwegian students are bored
It’s easy to say that there is no free lunch when you munch on subsidized baguettes. No matter what the cost of lunch, we can not escape the fact that we live in one of the richest countries in the world. This is not the room for maneuver. It is on the will to act.
The government has two choices. Either they can stop lying that we have an equal right to education in this country, or they can replace promises with action.
Norwegian students are tired of witnessing the Norwegian championship in low action. It’s going to be our turn now.
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