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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.3National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Last update: 27 November 2023

National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Educaiton and Learning

The efforts of the current government regarding VET and adult education and training are on: 

  • Supporting the work of education- and lifelong learning centers
  • Supporting secondary schools to offer adult education, evening- and distance learning.
  • Offering service contracts to centres around the country as to promote continuing education and training in collaboration with other educational institutions on behalf of members of the Confederation of Icelandic Employers, Federation of State and Municipal Employees and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
  • Support annual work of lifelong education centers in the rural areas and two in the capital area that offer a variety of studies, academic and career counceling as well as validation for those who want to strengthen their position in the labor market.

Several steps have been taken toward  aligning fully to the National Qualification Framework (NQF). Description of the NQF can be found in the National Curriculum for Upper secondary education act. It is assumed to encompass all education and training offered in the country, be it general education, academic studies, VET, art studies, special education or adult education. There is a loosely defined connection between the level of upper secondary education and higher education, though both levels have been developed with the same concepts in mind. Main policy objectives of the NQF are three:

  • to give and interlink overview of the structure of the education system with an emphasis of entry and exit points and definition of the knowledge, skills and competences assigned to each point
  • to act as a tool for reform and as an opportunity to review the overall functioning of education and training
  • to assure mobility of students between institutions nationally and internationally.

All changes in policy are in close cooperation with subject-based occupational councils, each within their own discipline of vocational training. The councils' tasks are as follows:

  • To propose general study objectives and define the needs for knowledge and skills on which to base study programme descriptions for the occupations concerned and which form part of the general part of the National Curriculum Guide for Upper Secondary Schools, and to make proposals for learning outcomes;
  • To devise criteria for the division of study programmes into school-based and work-based learning;
  • To make proposals regarding the structure and content of examinations in individual occupations;
  • To keep a record of companies and workplaces that meet the requirements for providing work-based learning pursuant to Article 28;
  • To make proposals for study programme descriptions for individual study programmes, intended as guidelines for upper secondary schools, cf. Article 23; 
  • To provide the Minister with an opinion on study programme descriptions for vocational training submitted by individual schools for confirmation by the Minister pursuant to Article 23 (Article 25, Upper Secondary Education Act No. 92/2008). 


There have been no reforms.


There have been no reforms.


No major reforms have taken place since 2010 but a revision of the legal framework on adult education and training is underway.