Strongly regrets having misinformed the city council

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Director of Education Marte Gerhardsen gave incorrect information in a meeting with the city council’s culture and education committee.

Marte Gerhardsen, director of the Education Agency. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB

At the previous meeting of the City Council’s Culture and Education Committee, Director of Education Marte Gerhardsen participated to answer questions about unrest in the Education Agency.

The background is that all permanent employees in the central Learning Environment team have chosen to leave. The team is recognized for its high competence in the learning environment. They are used by the schools to create a good environment for the students in Oslo.

A letter in which the employees explain why they have chosen to quit, states that the section previously consisted of eight supervision positions. The reorganization Gerhardsen started after she was appointed director of the agency was also criticized. The team was critical of the fact that more positions should now be set aside for more administrative tasks.

– I’m very sorry

At the committee meeting in the city council’s culture and education committee, Gerhardsen said that the learning environment team consists of four supervision positions, but that it will now be strengthened with two more positions.

With four positions as a starting point, the two additional positions indicate an increase, she said.

Representative Sillje Lutro (H) then wanted to know if it was wrong that the team originally consisted of eight positions, or if it was the case that the six positions that were now highlighted in reality meant a reduction from the way it had been.

– There were not eight supervisors there now, as long as I have been in the Education Agency. There have been four, Gerhardsen replied.

Aftenposten has requested the background for the director’s assertion that as long as she has been in the agency, there have been four people.

– I have now informed the city council department that I gave incorrect information in the meeting with the city council’s culture and education committee on 7 October. I strongly regret having given incorrect information, Gerhardsen writes in an e-mail.

She emphasizes that it is her responsibility to have an overview and provide correct information, but that it turned out that she did not have this.

The agency has now reviewed the figures based on May and September 2020 (see the full report at the bottom of the case).

No “concrete plans” for further cooperation

Gerhardsen has previously been out in Dagbladet. There she said that she understands that someone may have got the wrong impression. This is due to the media cases that there had been fewer directors in the agency since this spring. Then VG wrote that 22 directors in the agency would become six. According to Dagbladet, the Education Agency actually had 26 directors on a million salary in mid-September.

At the committee meeting on 7 October, Gerhardsen also stated that the agency had plans to cooperate with the outgoing section chief of the Learning Environment Team, Inger Bergkastet. Bergkastet will start a new job as a project manager at Høgskolen i Innlandet.

Aftenposten has been in contact with Bergkastet herself and her new employer, who both say that there are no plans for this. When asked what is the background for the allegation, the director of education answers that she hopes for a good collaboration with Bergkastet when she starts in a new position, but that there are currently no “concrete plans” for this.

This is Gerhardsen’s answer about the number of supervision positions in the Learning Environment Team:

«When we have reviewed the figures now, we have taken as our starting point May and September 2020. In May 2020, the section for the learning environment consisted of 7.6 man-years. Based on the information we have, we estimate that 5.6 man-years went for guidance. In May, there were six employees and a leader in the section who had tasks of supervising in the schools. In September 2020, there were four employees and a manager who had tasks in supervising the schools, after several people had left the section.

After the reorganization, the section was to have eight man-years at the start-up. We have recently decided to expand to ten permanent man-years. Originally, we estimated that four of the man-years would go to guidance, now this has been extended to six man-years. The positions are advertised. It has not been clarified how the man-years will be distributed among people. “

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