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When Jens Stoltenberg formed his second government in 2005, he rearranged some of the ministries. Among other things, he transferred church affairs from the Ministry of Education and Research to the Ministry of Culture. The Minister for Education and Research got the added responsibility for kindergartens, which was a priority with the government. Øystein Djupedal left the Ministry this month and his ministry was split in two, the Ministry for Higher Education and Research under Tora Aasland and the Ministry of Education under Bård Vegar Solhjell, responsible for kindergartens, school and adult education. One of Tora Aasland’s first acts as Minister was a few days ago to sign a new cooperation agreement with the US in Washington.
The former Minister of Education and research got a lot of flak, not least from the universities, for ignoring higher education and research. There is little the new minister can do to change the 2008 budget. The proof of the pudding will be in the coming budget for 2009. The new Minister of Education, Bård Vegar Solhjell, has just announced that he intends to boost the teaching of foreign languages in Norwegian secondary education, including English.