Developments and Current Policy Priorities
In mid-2018, the Prime Minister of Iceland appointed a committee aimed at investigating the implications of the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on Iceland, with the aim of “explaining the global discourse on 4IR, its implications for Icelandic society, and the opportunities it represents for Iceland”. The committee produced a report with the aim of gathering knowledge about the technological advances that have been classified as part of fourth industrial revolution, as well as to stimulate discussion of the challenges and opportunities they entail. With the assistance of Statistics Iceland and the OECD, the committee also analysed the potential impact of automation on the Icelandic labour market and how best to adjust the education system to these changes. Amongst the core recommendations that the committee gave was for the Icelandic authorities to conduct a systematic investigation of the labour market’s long-term needs as regards skills, education, and human resources. It recommended that this be followed by structured measures to promote the build-up, maintenance, and utilisation of knowledge in fields relating to the fourth industrial revolution and concluded that the education system and scientific work will play a key role in enabling useful utilisation of new technology. This would best be done by fostering capacity to solve complex problems, apply critical thinking and to stimulate effective communication skills. Other recommendations included focus on increasing the number of people educated in STEM fields and to put increased weight of practical courses and the arts.
In 2020-2021, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture is preparing an education policy for the period through 2030. The draft policy, expected to be approved by parliament in spring 2021, takes into account recent societal changes and suggests a framework for a new educational policy which prepares young Icelanders how to take on societal and global challenges.