Homework could be scrapped for schoolchildren in Oslo

Oslo's Socialist Left party aims to introduce a new system of 'homework done at school' to make society more equal

Hardeep Matharu
Thursday 22 October 2015 13:05 BST
Schoolchildren in Oslo could soon be free of dreaded after-school assignments - but will it make Norway's society more equal?
Schoolchildren in Oslo could soon be free of dreaded after-school assignments - but will it make Norway's society more equal? (AFP/Getty Images)

Homework for schoolchildren in Norway’s capital may be abolished.

A new city council for Oslo – a coalition between Norway’s Labour Party, Greens and the Socialist Left party – came to power on Wednesday, and could mark the end of conventional homework as students know it.

For the Socialist Left party aims to reform homework's current practice on the basis that it “reinforces social inequalities”, according to the Norwegian news site The Local.

In its coalition negotiations, the Socialist Left party secured a promise from Labour and the Greens to “trial alternative methods of assessment and other ways of organising homework” – which it now hopes to turn into a reality.

“We want instead to focus on what we call ‘school exercises’,” Audun Lysbakken, the Socialist Left party’s leader told Norwegian news site NKR.

“Students are helped by their teacher while they are still at school. This ensures more learning for all children and less stress for the family.”

Sunniva Holmas Eidsvoll, the leader of the party in Oslo, reportedly said she wanted homework to be temporarily abolished for children aged six to 13, or at least up until the age of nine.

Education is one of the key areas the Socialist Left party campaigns on.

It believes the widely-undertaken practice of schoolchildren completing extra work at home to test and reinforce their knowledge is disadvantageous to those teenagers who do not get much help with their homework from parents.

Instead, it wishes to see a system of “homework done at school”.

“One in three parents report that they sometimes fall short when they should be helping their kids with their homework,” the party says on its website.

“Research showed that homework may reinforce low self-esteem among disadvantaged learners and give poorer motivation.

“SV [Sosialistisk Venstrepart - Socialist Left] proposes a daily hour of rehearsal work so most of the homework can be done at school with a teacher present.

“It is particularly important for those students who do not get help at home but will be positive for everyone.

“When homework is done at school, it becomes less homework stress and better leisure and family time when the school day is over.

“All children should have equal opportunities for learning. They have not today. Therefore SV [aims to] make the school day more comprehensive and better for the students.”

Oslo’s new city council consists of four Labour councillors, two from the Green party, and one from the Socialist Left party, with a Socialist Left mayor and a Labour deputy mayor.

Among those appointed to the city’s new government was Geir Lippestad, the lawyer who defended Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

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