The Education and Training Service Centre is owned by the Icelandic Confederation of Labour, the Confederation of Icelandic Employers, the Federation of State and Municipal Employees, the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. The role of the Centre is to be a collaborative forum of the founding parties for adult education and vocational training in cooperation with other educational bodies. Its target group is those who have not graduated from the upper secondary level, and its main goal is to increase educational opportunities among people on the labour market, to support educational providers in defining the target groups’ need for education and to assist in developing methods to assess informal competence.
Education in Iceland has traditionally been organized within the public sector, and there have been relatively few private institutions in the school system. Almost all private schools receive public funding, tuition fees come in addition. Continuing education and training is offered by some institutions at higher education level, upper secondary, compulsory level, in lifelong learning centres, by private schools, companies or organizations.
A few upper secondary schools offer special programmes, including evening classes, for older students who are unable to avail themselves of regular instruction at the upper secondary schools but wished to complete studies comparable to the programmes offered by them. The evening programmes were comparable to those of the day school with the same modular credit units, but the students received half the number of lessons. Although the National Curriculum Guide for upper secondary schools still holds this channel open, the number of upper secondary schools which offer adult education programmes through evening school has fallen drastically.
In collaboration with the higher education institutions in Iceland, a few programs of preliminary studies for adults are offered. The main objective is to prepare students, who do not satisfy admission qualifications, with the knowledge and competence necessary for further studies at university level.