There is little quantitative knowledge about the Sami student-teacher ratio in Norway. Many hold that there is a considerable shortage of Sami teachers and others have claimed that Sami teachers lack formal teaching accreditation. This article surveys the number of South, Lule and North Sami teachers there are in Norway at the primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school levels.
The article also registers the formal competency of each Sami teacher in both pedagogy and Sami language. The survey shows that many Sami teachers lack formal pedagogical qualifications when compared to other teachers in Norway. At the same time, we see that formal competence in the language is at a very high level.
The student-teacher ratio for Lule Sami is high. It is at the same level as for the rest of Nordland and actually higher than that in Bodø. This shows that there is a clear shortage of teachers with competence in Lule Sami.
The lower student-teacher ratio for North and South Sami makes the situation not as precarious in the short term. However, the average age of Sami teachers point to a significant number of them retiring in the next ten years, and the number of applicants to Sami teacher training has been extremely low. Therefore, if recruitment to Sami teacher education does not significantly increase, we risk having much fewer Sami teachers in 10-20 years than today.
Since the 2005/06 school year, fewer and fewer students are taking Sami as a Second Language at the primary and lower secondary level. The article shows that the decrease appears to have stopped and that the number of students has stabilised, albeit at a lower level than before. The decline in student numbers for South Sami as a second language, however, is still worrisome. There is also a decline in the number of students learning Sami as a first language. Special attention is focused on the differences between the number of students who learn Sami as a mother tongue and the number of students who have Sami as the language of instruction. More and more students at the primary and lower secondary level are choosing to take Sami as a first language without having any other subject taught in Sami.
The availability of instructional material to teach subjects other than Sami language in Sami has improved over the las four years. Nevertheless, the situation is still critical for Lule and South Sami where students still lack teaching material in most of the subjects at the primary and lower secondary level.
A review of the Office of the County Governor’s inspection reports on Sami education shows that all of the inspections in Nordland and Oslo/Akershus found breaches of the law. In Finnmark, the reports are uniformly positive. A review of Sami education in other counties has not been undertaken.