The Nordic countries have entered into a number of agreements to ensure that Nordic citizens have access to education throughout the Nordic region, and that diplomas from Nordic programmes of higher education are recognised in all the Nordic countries. Within the Nordic co-operation, there are also a number of study programmes that provide opportunities for students throughout the Nordic region.
Nordic education agreements
Mutual recognition of higher education diplomas
The Reykjavik Declaration from 2004 is a joint Nordic declaration on the mutual recognition of third-level educational qualifications. The declaration was revised in 2016.
The declaration ensures that higher education qualifications from one Nordic country are generally recognised in the other Nordic countries. In some cases, you can also have your education assessed in another Nordic country and thereby obtain proof that your education is recognised in that country.
You can find out more by contacting one of the five Nordic offices for the recognition of qualifications (NORRIC).
Access to higher education
The agreement between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden on access to higher education dates from 1996, and ensures that if you are from a Nordic country, you have the right to apply to enter higher education in another Nordic country on an equal footing with that country’s own applicants. The agreement also provides the right to credit transfer from a course in one Nordic country to one in another Nordic country, on equal terms with applicants from that country.
The agreement ensures that you can apply for higher education in a Nordic country on the basis of your previous education, even if it is from another Nordic country.
Nordic educational community at upper secondary school level
An agreement on Nordic educational community at upper secondary level (general upper secondary and vocational schools) entered into force in 2008. Its aim is to boost free movement between the Nordic countries by giving pupils access to upper secondary education on equal terms with a country’s own nationals. The agreement also obliges the countries to recognise education obtained through a study period in another Nordic country.
This means that you can apply for upper secondary education in a Nordic country on the basis of your lower secondary education from another Nordic country, on an equal basis with the country’s own applicants.
The Nordic Language Convention
The 1987 Language Convention covers the five official languages of the Nordic countries: Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish. The Convention deals with the right of Nordic citizens to contact the authorities of another Nordic country in their own language in certain contexts.
The Convention ensures that you have the right to contact the authorities in another Nordic country in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian or Swedish. This applies to both written and oral communication, but not to telephone contact. The Convention does not provide the right to use any of these languages in a study context.
Nordic educational programmes
Nordplus is the Nordic Council of Ministers’ largest support programme, focusing on lifelong learning, education, mobility and languages. Nordplus consists of five sub-programmes, and supports several thousand mobile activities, networks and development projects each year for all age groups, and between players from all over the Nordic and Baltic regions. The educational institutions of the Danish minority in Germany (South Schleswig) can also apply for Nordplus funding via a special agreement with Denmark. Nordplus has existed since 1988.
Nordplus means that, as a pupil or student, you can have the opportunity to participate in mobile activities such as exchange programmes or projects with other Nordic or Baltic pupils or students. The prerequisite is that your educational institution participates in a Nordplus project with other Nordic or Baltic educational institutions.
As a staff member at a Nordic or Baltic educational institution, this means that you have the opportunity to obtain support to launch mobile activities, networks or development projects with educational institutions or the like in other Nordic or Baltic countries.
Nordic Master Programme
The Nordic Master Programme is a series of two-year English-language Master's programmes offered jointly by two or more Nordic educational institutions from at least two different Nordic countries. Common to the programmes is that they are based on research, excellence and high quality.
The Nordic Master Programme gives you the opportunity to take a Master's education in which you live and study in several Nordic countries for the duration of the two-year programme, and at the same time obtain certification of having completed the programme at two or more Nordic educational institutions.
Nordkurs is a set of summer courses at university level in the languages, literature and culture of the Nordic countries. The courses are ECTS credit-bearing and are offered each year in Danish, Finnish, Finnish Swedish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish. In some years, courses may also be offered in Faroese, Greenlandic and Sami. Every year, over 300 Nordic students participate in the courses.
This means that as a university student in a Nordic country, you have the opportunity to spend between 2 and 4 weeks of your summer holiday in another Nordic country to take a course in one of the Nordic languages, or learn about the literature or culture of another Nordic country. Students from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden can receive a national grant that partially covers travel and accommodation expenses (board, lodging and course materials).
Nordic Language Pilots
Nordic Language Pilots was established in 2007 and is a supplementary training course for teachers of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish who wish to strengthen their skills in neighbouring language didactics, and who can then act as resource persons for their immediate colleagues. This applies to teachers of Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, both as a mother tongue and as a foreign language. The Language Pilot course is available to teachers at both primary and secondary level.
As a primary or secondary school teacher, the course gives you the opportunity to obtain deeper insight into the Nordic languages as neighbouring and foreign languages, and to develop didactics and methodology to functionally incorporate the Nordic material in teaching. The course and accommodation are free of charge, but participants must finance their own transport and teaching substitutes, if necessary.
Nordspråk is a network of native Nordic language teacher associations and associations for teachers of Nordic languages as foreign languages. Nordspråk offers courses and conferences in literature, culture and didactics for primary and secondary teachers, and at teacher training colleges. The associations publish professional journals in which content with a Nordic perspective is presented in articles and thematic issues.
For teachers of Nordic languages as either a neighbouring language or a foreign language, Nordspråk offers journals, courses and conferences that allow you to update your knowledge of the culture and literature of the other Nordic countries, and obtain new tools for your teaching.
Norden 0-30 is a grant programme that supports projects by children and young people, with aim of strengthening their organisation, influence and participation in political, cultural and social activities. The programme’s target group are children and young people up to the age of 30, and eligibility for support requires a project with participants from at least three Nordic countries.
Nordic 0-30 gives representatives of an organisation, group, municipality, institution, association or network the opportunity to apply for support to carry out networking activities in which children and young people are actively involved, and which help to promote Nordic co-operation. This could for example include meetings, camps or workshops, or productions such as processes, campaigns or reports. Applicants are not required to be members of the target group. Applications can be made for up to EUR 25,000, but a minimum of 15% self-financing is required.
Volt is a cultural and language programme for children and young people up to age 25, and has been running since 2017. The programme supports projects that stimulate interest in art, culture and language in other Nordic countries, and which focus on the activities of children and young people in art, culture and creativity.
Volt allows individuals, groups or organisations to apply for funding for projects that focus on the cultural and artistic creativity of children and young people. All artistic fields are covered. Applicants are not required to be members of the target group. Eligibility for support requires a project with participants from at least three Nordic countries.
Read more about education in the Nordic countries
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