Youths, realised education and drop-out in Telemark

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While some youths complete upper-secondary education, others with apparently similar conditions, drop out. Why is this so? This project follows 70 youths in Telemark, both in- and outside their upper-secondary school environment, from 2013-2023. Focus is aimed toward their stories of everyday life, social relationships and socio-structural conditions, set up against region-specific challenges.

Why «Youths, realised education and drop-out in Telemark»?

The research-project’s aim is to present the processes connected to educational completion and drop-out among youths in Telemark. The main aim is to attain knowledge, based on the youths’ own voices, that can contribute to change and development in the public sector with the goal of increasing the conditions children’s and youths’ upbringing and participation in all arenas (kindergarten, school, welfare-services and informal meeting-places).


Conditions specific to Telemark contribute to a large group of youths «falling between the cracks». The region is in danger of creating increased marginalisation and social exclusion. By following youths over time, our regional partners knowledge-base will be strengthened and thereby contribute to better public services.
Our focus is to present personal stories. By examining their stories, we attain knowledge regarding their relationships and practices and thereby a new perspective of social development in Telemark. The project centers around the discussion of how culture evolves in an ever-changing society.


The project is about to endeavor on its 4th round of individual ethnographic interviews with fieldnotes. An indirect approach is used such that interviewers engage informants in conversation in which both questions and answers develop out of the informants’ contexts. One strives to use the youths’ language such that their narrative emerges (Moshuus & Eide, 2016).
Fieldwork, in connection with NAV’s training courses for youths who have discontinued their education, has also been done. The project has master students from Education and Social Sciences as co-researchers. To date, the project has produced 15 master theses.
The project is the coordinator for a Erasmus+ project, “Marginalisation and Co-created Education (MaCE)” with University of Cumbria, UK and VIA University College, Denmark. Similar longitudinal studies in the Blackpool-area and Jylland will be performed, creating an even larger collective database.



Former members



  • Who: 70 young people from Telemark. Half have quit upper- secondary school and are in the NAV system (social services). The other half are from vocational lines which experience high dropout rates.
  • Institution: The research group "Upbringing and Education" at the University of Southeast Norway, is professionally rooted in the kindergarten, school, health and social sector. The project collaborates closely with NAV, Telemark's county municipality, "Talents for the Future" and "Young in Telemark" at HS.
  • Client: The project is funded by the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Department and the University of Southeast Norway.

Main project website