No government official in the United States would shrug off a decision by schools to reschedule exams so students could attend a Justin Bieber concert. Such a decision here would be met with indignant speeches about skewed priorities.
Nor can I imagine any U.S. education secretary saying, “We’ve all been 14-years-old and know that interests can be intense.” Not unless they were willing to dodge brickbats and the histrionics of talk radio.
But education and politics are apparently more relaxed in Norway.
According to the AJC:
Five schools in western Norway have rescheduled their midterm exams to allow students to attend upcoming Justin Bieber concerts in the capital, the country’s Ministry of Education and Research said Wednesday.
The Canadian pop star is scheduled to perform in the Norwegian capital on April 16 and 17 — stoking fears that some students in remote schools will skip midterm exams scheduled to take place at the same time.
Bieber is extremely popular in the Nordic country, where his free concert in Oslo last year resulted in dozens of injuries as teenage girls fought to get better glimpses of the 19-year-old icon. To accommodate this Bieber-mania, five schools in the Alesund region — located some 230 miles (375 kilometers) northwest of Oslo — have rescheduled exams.
Kristin Halvorsen, Norway’s education minister, said she did not intend to intervene with the schools’ decisions. “I am concerned that students should be concentrating when they take tests and midterms,” Halvorsen wrote The Associated Press in an email. “The local schools have the responsibility to schedule the local midterms, and if they think there is any reason to change the dates, they have authority to do so…We’ve all been 14-years-old and know that interests can be intense.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog