Childhood and education research group

Oppvekst og utdanning. To ungdommer. Foto.

This research group aims at acquiring knowledge about welfare during childhood and youth. By using an interdisciplinary approach, we intend to develop a holistic understanding of individual and structural factors that influence childhood and education.

What is our research focus?

Our research focuses on welfare for children and youths in the region of Telemark in a wide perspective, covering arenas such as kindergartens, schools and the welfare state services, in addition to youth’s own informal meeting places. Our region has specific challenges, which result in a substantial proportion of youth dropping out of upper secondary school. By generating empirical research on welfare of children and youths in Telemark, we believe we will contribute in expanding and increasing the knowledge base of our partners in the region. This in turn may result in higher quality within national public service. The research projects in this area will apply both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Research diciplines

The research group focuses upon the following: kindergartens, schools and the health and social services.

  • Drop-out and completion of upper secondary schools
  • Youth
  • Child care services
  • Multicultural childhood in the region
  • Nutrition, physical exercise, mental health and children’s development
  • Social class and social inequality
  • Leisure and locality

National partners:

  • Telemark regional hospital (statistician Martin V. Svendsen and specialist psychologist Ingebjørg Hestetun)
  • Telemark County Administration (Director of Education Helge Galdal and public health advisor Kjersti Norgård Aase)
  • Telemark County Governor (Elisabeth Holte)
  • The City of Skien (coordinator Frøydis Straume)
  • The Norwegian Welfare Agency (NAV) – Skien branch (Elin Mandt)
  • Norwegian Association of businesses and industries (NHO) – Telemark branch (President Arild Ljådal)
  • Korus South (Rosanne Kristiansen)
  • Telemark Research Institute and the University of (Professor Halvard Vike)
  • NOVA (Researcher II Viggo Vestel, researcher I Tormod Øia, and researcher II Mira Sletten, researcher II Anders Bakken)
  • Department of sociology and social geography, University of Oslo, (professor Terje Wessel)
  • The Norwegian Census Bureau (Senior advisor Gustav Haraldsen)
  • Forum for studies in the South. Network in international practical placement studies for students in professional programs.
  • National reference group for recruitment of minority ethnical Norwegians to child welfare education. The Diversity project, University College of Oslo and Akershus
  • National network on research on adolescents

International partners:

  • Malmö University, Sweden (Professor Philip Lalander)
  • NORDYK - Nordic network of professional education and professional didactics
  • Networkers SouthNorth
  • Molloy College, USA (Dean Maureen Walsh)
  • Hofstra University, Institute for Global Studies and Geography, NY, USA (Associate professor Kari Bolstad Jensen)

Ongoing research projects

Why "Drop Outs" are "Push Outs"
Project leader: Torill A. Halvorsen
What causes an increasing dropout rate of students in Tanzanian educational system?
Project targeting the individual oriented concept "Drop Outs" replacing the focus on institutional responsibility causing "Push Outs".
A comparative study to examine mechanismns leading to Drop-outs in the North and the South.

The Project is a part of the NORHED financed TRANSLED (UIO), a north-south cooperation between Norway and Tanzania represented by SUZA (the State University of Zanzibar) and UDSM (University of Dar es Salaam).

Adolescents, completion and dropouts in Telemark.
Project leaders: Mette Bunting, TUC Faculty of Arts, Folk Culture and Education and Geir H Moshuus, TUC Faculty of Health and Social Work Studies

This project is a cooperation between Telemark County, The Regional Governor of Telemark and the Norwegian Welfare Agency (NAV), Telemark and Østfold branches. The project will generate process knowledge about dropouts and completion among youths in Telemark. It is a longitudinal qualitative study with a sample consisting of students in higher secondary education and former students, now possible dropouts and clients at NAV over 10 years. 71 informants are being interviewed. The project is now in its second year.

Young in Telemark
Project leader: Geir H. Moshuus, TUC Faculty of Health and Social Work Studies

This is a regionally based project consisting of individual studies with a comparative perspective upon local communities. The standardized municipality youth survey system “Ungdata” is an important data source for the project, and Telemark University College cooperates with Korus in the implementation of the surveys for all Telemark’s municipalities in 2015.  

PhD-project: Adolescents and spare time in Telemark
Project leader: Elisabeth Gulløy, TUC Faculty of Health and Social Work Studies

The project studies the relation between youth leisure, welfare and local attachment. An important dimension is to find out how leisure influences youth relations towards the local community, and how belonging may vary between communities and social groups. Ungdata surveys make up the main data source, in combination with data from qualitative studies.

Nutrition, physical exercise, mental health and weight among children and adolescents in Telemark
Project leader: Inger Margaret Oellingrath, TUC Faculty of Health and Social Work Studies

This project is a cooperation between the Telemark Regional Hospital and TUC. The project monitors a cohort of children in Telemark and consists of three different datasets; (T1-T3) from a survey on nutrition, physical exercise and mental health, in addition to weight and height of the children. The data collection took place in cooperation with school health nurses from municipalities in Telemark. The overall aim of the project has been increased knowledge on the relation between nutrition, physical exercise and weight for children with different social backgrounds in Telemark, in order to develop functional preventative measures aimed at limiting the development of overweight and obesity.

Child care in a culturally complex welfare society
Project leader: Inger Kjersti Lndvig, TUC Faculty of Health and Social Work Studies

This is a survey where the theme of the study has been the interaction between child care workers and minority family clients. 83 municipalities within the regional child welfare agency participates in the study. The first phase of the project consists of a questionnaire survey. The next phase will be qualitative studies of relations between child care workers and users of the child care services. Digital storytelling and focus group interviews will be essential methodologies in this phase of the project.

A follow-up project based on the previous project “From talents to professionals”
Project leader: Åse Streitlien, TUC Faculty of Art, Folk Culture and Teacher Education

TUC has been asked to do a follow-up study on a previous pilot called “From talents to professionals” (”Fra talenter til fagarbeider”). This pilot tries out alternative ways of organizing vocational education programs. The project is based on interviews and document studies.

A follow-up project based on a pilot study on an alternative way of organizing the second year of vocational training in upper secondary for multilingual students
Project leader: Åse Streitlien, TUC Faculty of Art, Folk Culture and Teacher Education 

TUC has been asked to perform this study on students at an upper secondary school in telemark. These students are taking their second year curriculum over two years. Methods used are interviews, observations and the document studies.