June 8, 2023


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Rule change means Nikolai Skovgaard from Ulstein will not be allowed to attend folk high school – NRK Møre og Romsdal – Local news, TV and radio

Many of Nikolai Skovgaard’s comrades have been in the Folk Hawkskull. The 20-year-old had long been looking forward to his turn to leave his home village of Hadal in the Ulstein municipality of Sunmore to live with other young people. His eyes light up as he talks about what he’s going to do.

– I will go on a trip to Spain, Iceland and Israel. That would be fun.

– Surprise and disappointment

But Nikolai has autism, and to cope at the country university, he must have an assistant. Little did he know it, but the NAV had rejected his application.

– This is very surprising and a little frustrating. Dad says they think they are smarter than him Klaus Skovgaard.

Claus Skovgaard thinks that the fate change is completely incomprehensible.

Photo: Arne Flatin / NRK

Assistant no longer has rights

According to his father, Nikolai is considered to be doing well. He can board the bus and engage in various leisure activities, as long as it is organized or with help from aides or others.

As a result, she has been affected by a new rule introduced by politicians last year: If students can manage certain things on their own, such as bathing, they no longer need an aide.

This means that it has become more difficult for students with diagnoses such as Down’s syndrome, autism and developmental disabilities to get support from aides to help them get to a country university.

– I’m disappointed and angry, says Ane Dinkelstad Woyen, president of the Folkehoyskoleradet.

Go straight to job training

According to figures obtained by Folkehøyskolerådet, 48 students with developmental disabilities or other diagnoses were rejected following the rule change. Last year, 13 people had the same condition.

– These students should go straight from secondary school to on-the-job training in the municipality. “I think that’s harmful and unfortunate,” says Woyen.

He refers to the Equality Reform, which makes it clear that people with developmental disabilities must attend a country university, and asks the government to give a clear signal to NAV about how the rules should be understood.

Don’t plan for a rule change

The Ministry of Labor and Content is responsible for the rule change and there are no plans to change the rule now.

– There is no work initiated, but we find it would be more appropriate to see if the offer for this group should be designed a little differently, Secretary of State Thomas says Narwhal.

Thomas Norwall (Ap), Secretary of State, Ministry of Labor and Inclusion.

Thomas Norwall (Ap), Secretary of State, Ministry of Labor and Inclusion

Photo: regjeringen.no

Positive experience

In the line “Travel, Life and Leisure”. On that day Ålesund Folk High School Arrange for students who need additional follow-up.

– I have Made many new friends here. They are good people It’s hard to find outside a country university, says Marco (20), one of six students in line.

Marko is at Folkehojskole

Despite their different needs, Marko and the other five had a wonderful year together at Ålesund Folk High School.

Photo: Elizabeth Scarrud / NRK

Students swim in the fjord, even though the mountain tops are covered in snow far away.

For Marco, the assistant, it was good to have new experiences and visit a new city for the first time.

It’s interesting to create another city and open up the horizon a bit.

Without the helpers’ support, the group would not have been able to attend the country’s university, says environmental worker Hanne Welle.

– There is a lot of innovation in a public university. What worked before may no longer work when you have to live with 60 people.

Students from Ålesund Folk High School bathe in Sulafjorden.

“A year for everyone” is the motto of Norwegian folk high schools. Here, some students at Alesund Folkehøgskule swim in Sulafjorden.

Photo: Elizabeth Scarrud / NRK

There is a complaint

On the table in front of Klaus Skovgaard in Ulstein is a solid piece of paper. The documents document that she often complained that her son could not find an assistant at the country’s university.

– Do you think any country university will accept your son without getting paid for assistantship?

– No. He needs a lot of follow-up, guidance and training.

Until the family responded to the complaint, the son had no idea what had happened.

– How am I going to explain to Nikolay that he is not allowed to go to the folk high school? He was very set on this. I don’t know how to deal with it.

Nikolai with father Klaus Skovgaard

Father Klaus Skovgaard and son Nikolai Skovgaard watch the TV series “Den Unge Flexness” together.

Photo: Arne Flatin / NRK

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