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Iceland:Overview

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Overview Iceland

Contents

Iceland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Iceland:Historical Development

Iceland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Iceland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Iceland:Political and Economic Situation

Iceland:Organisation and Governance

Iceland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Iceland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Iceland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Iceland:Organisation of Private Education

Iceland:National Qualifications Framework

Iceland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Iceland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Iceland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Iceland:Funding in Education

Iceland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Iceland:Higher Education Funding

Iceland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Iceland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Iceland:Organisation of Programmes for all Pre-Primary Education

Iceland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for all Pre-Primary Education

Iceland:Assessment in Programmes for all Pre-Primary Education

Iceland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Iceland:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Iceland:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Iceland:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Iceland:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Iceland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Iceland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Iceland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Iceland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Iceland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Iceland:Organisation of Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Iceland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Iceland:Assessment in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Iceland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Iceland:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Iceland:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Iceland:Higher Education

Iceland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Iceland:First Cycle Programmes

Iceland:Bachelor

Iceland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Iceland:Second Cycle Programmes

Iceland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Iceland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Iceland:Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Distribution of Responsibilities

Iceland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Iceland:Main Providers

Iceland:Main Types of Provision

Iceland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Iceland:Teachers and Education Staff

Iceland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Iceland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Iceland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Iceland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Management and Other Education Staff

Iceland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Iceland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Iceland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Iceland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Quality Assurance

Iceland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Iceland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Educational Support and Guidance

Iceland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Iceland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Iceland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Iceland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Iceland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Iceland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Mobility in Higher Education

Iceland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Iceland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Iceland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Iceland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Iceland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Iceland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Iceland:National Reforms in School Education

Iceland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Iceland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Iceland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Iceland:European Perspective

Iceland:Legislation

Iceland:Institutions

Iceland:Bibliography

Iceland:Glossary

Key features of the education system

  • The Althingi (Icelandic parliament) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture bear political and legal responsibility for the education system and are responsible for establishing its administrative framework and principal goals. Local authorities are responsible for the operation of nursery schools and primary schools in their area.
  • The Department of Education at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture addresses the education system as a whole. The Department prepares educational policies and ensures their implementation, and is responsible for the general administration of educational issues.
  • The Department is responsible for educational issues at all school levels, i.e. nursery school, primary school, secondary school and university, as well as lifelong learning and scholarships. It also takes the initiative in the development of educational innovations, including distance learning and the publication of educational material.
  • The Department is responsible for preparing the national curriculum for nursery schools, primary schools and secondary schools, as well as music education at all levels. The national curriculum is the ideological foundation and a policy formulating guideline for the schooling levels.
  • Schools at all educational levels follow educational polices as determined by local authorities and the Ministry of Education. Such policies are a general guideline for school work and the aspects of parenting and education that society wishes to focus on.
  • A curriculum and work plan is prepared for each school based on the national curriculum. School curricula are a guideline for students, teachers, other school employees and parents. Further information on school curricula can be obtained from the schools' websites.

Stages of the education system

ISCED 0

  • Nursery-school upbringing and work is based on special upbringing methods and ideology drawn from the writings and research of various philosophers and educational experts. Information on upbringing trends may be found on nursery-school websites.
  • The cornerstone of nursery-school work is play. It is the nursery-school teacher's teaching method and the child's path to learning.
  • The nursery-school head teacher is responsible for the upbringing work of the nursery school, organises such work in co-operation with other members of staff and parents, and is responsible for recruiting other staff.
  • The assistant nursery-school head teacher is the head teacher's deputy. A nursery-school teacher or a head of department is responsible for the children and the child development in his or her department. Instructors work under the guidance of nursery school teachers.
  • Many local communities have nursery-school counsellors or special education teachers, who provide counselling to nursery-school head teacher, staff and parents regarding the work of the nursery school as a whole.
  • It is important that good co-operation between the parents and nursery-school staff is fostered as soon as the child starts nursery school. There are parents' associations working at most nursery schools.

ISCED 1-2

  • The local communities are principally responsible for school work and the implementation of the Primary School Act.
  • School Councils in each local community have to see to it that all school children who are supposed to attend compulsory school do attend. The school council is also responsible for ensuring that schools are provided with access to specialist services and that there is acceptable housing available, as well as areas for outdoor activities and playgrounds.
  • The head teacher is the head of a primary school. He or she is responsible for the work of the school, manages the school, and provides professional leadership. The assistant head teacher works under the leadership of the head teacher, and together they manage the daily work of the school.
  • Department managers or project managers are mid-level managers who manage a section of the school work, a department or schooling level, according to the decision of the head teacher.
  • There are teachers' councils operating in all larger primary schools. The councils operate with a mandate from teachers and assist head teachers with the management of the school. In smaller primary schools, teachers' meetings carry out the duties of a teachers' council.
  • Teachers and the supervisory teachers of individual classes organise the preparation of the class curriculum. The curriculum stipulates the study programme for the school year or for individual classes during the school year. During each semester there is a course assessment or examination for each subject, in order to monitor the academic progress of students.
  • An individually oriented curriculum is a schedule for all students. It suits in particular those who need further educational or social assistance, on top of what is offered by the class curriculum.

ISCED 3

  • School curricula are issued in all secondary schools. The curricula describe available study programmes, the length and content of courses, division according to subject matter, teaching methods, learning assessments and administrative methods. The school board of the school in question must approve the curriculum for it to take effect, and the board monitors its implementation.
  • The Minister of Education appoints a five-member school board to prepare annual work plans and the budget for the school. Teachers and students shall act as observers and have the right to speak and submit suggestions.
  • The school head, appointed by the Minister of Education, governs the school and is responsible for day-to-day operations and work.
  • The school head recruits the assistant head and all other staff members, in consultation with the school board.
  • The school board shall provide the head teacher with advice and assistance with the management of the school. The board consists of management and the representatives of teachers and students.
  • Student committees in secondary schools have, among other things, the right to make suggestions and comment on the goals of study programmes, educational material, and teaching arrangements. Student associations, which are the general associations of students in each school, establish rules on the appointment, responsibilities and procedures of student committees.

ISCED 5-7

  • University-level educational institutions consist of various study programmes and departments within those programmes, research institutes and centres, and various service institutes and offices.
  • The Minister of Education, Science and Culture is responsible for establishing rules on monitoring the quality of instruction and research. The university is responsible for internal assessments, while the Minister is responsible for external assessment.
  • Formal criteria for higher education and degrees are issued by the Minister of Education. The arrangement of instruction, research, studies and educational assessment is decided within the university.
  • Recognised degrees include Diploma degrees, Bachelors degrees, awarded on completion of basic studies, Masters degrees, on completion of one or more years of postgraduate studies, and doctoral degrees, on completion of extensive research-related post-graduate studies.
  • Student councils are active within the majority of universities and guard the interests of students both within the university and outside it. There are also students' associations within university departments.
  • The universities offer advisory services for students and prospective students. The services cover advice on programme choice, work methods and other issues relating to studies.

Structure of the national education system

2016 diagram IS.pngsource: Eurydice 2016

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