The Educational System in Iceland
The educational system in Iceland is divided into four levels:
Pre-school education (leikskóli) Governed by the Pre Schools (Nursery Schools) Act No. 90/2008.
Pre-schools are defined by law as the first level of the educational system, providing education for children who have not reached six years of age, at which point compulsory education begins.
Compulsory education (grunnskóli) Governed by the Compulsory School Act No. 91/2008.
Compulsory education is organised in a single structure system, i.e. primary and lower secondary education form a part of the same school level, and generally take place in the same school. The law concerning compulsory education stipulates that education shall be mandatory for children and adolescents between the ages of six and sixteen.
Upper secondary education (framhaldsskóli) Governed by the Upper Secondary School Act No. 92/2008.
Upper secondary education is not compulsory, but anyone who has completed compulsory education has the right to enter a course of studies in an upper secondary school. Students are usually 16-20 years of age. General academic education is primarily organised as a four-year course leading to a matriculation examination. The length of the courses in vocational education varies, lasting from one semester to ten, but most prevalent are four-year courses.
Higher educational system (Háskólar)
The modern Icelandic system of higher education dates back to the foundation of the University of Iceland in 1911. The legal framework covering higher education in Iceland is the Higher Education Institution Act no. 63/2006. This act applies to educational institutions providing higher education leading to a degree and which have been accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. The ministry has also issued National Qualification Framework for Iceland no. 80/2007, a systematic description of the structure of education and degrees at higher education that is specifically based on learning outcomes. All accredited higher education institutes in Iceland shall follow this framework.
There are currently seven higher education institutions in Iceland that fall under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and the Higher Education Institution Act no. 63/2006.
More detailed description of the Icelandic education system:
- Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Funding and the Social Dimension 2011
- Organisation of the education system in Iceland - Eurydice Report 2008/2009