This chapter provides an overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021.
The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.
The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels:
- Early childhood education and care
VET and Adult learning
Transversal skills and Employability
Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
Overall national education strategy and key objectives
After a parliamentary election, a renewed coalition agreement was reached in November 2022 between the three political parties in power before the September elections, namely the Independence Party, the Progressive Party and the Left Green Alliance. In the government platform, strengthening of the education system is highlighted. Priority will be given to:
- Strengthening the role of teachers and to tackle the challenge of teachers' shortage
- Support for children of foreign origin the school system
- Strengthening vocational and technical studies and on increasing the number of people with technical and science education
- Strengthening the funding for upper secondary schools, as well as funding for universities in accordance with the plans of the Science and Technology Policy Council
- Increased efforts toward digitising education and improved access to digital studies
- Competitiveness in international comparison
- Supporting vocational training and studies
- Ensuring equal access to education and to meet the different needs of all genders
- Revision of educational legislation
- Support for the Icelandic language to be usable in the cybersphere
- Increased measures to tackle early school leaving
Overview of the education reform process and drivers
In general, reforms of the education and training system follow the procedures of all legislation as established by the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland. The legislative procedure involves three readings in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. Before a bill may voted on and approved, it must go through three committee readings in the parliament.
Members of the parliament and Ministers are entitled to introduce bills and draft parliamentary resolutions.
In March 2021, a parliamentary resolution was passed on a new 2030 Education Policy. In September the same year, the first action plan for the period of 2021-2024 was issued, thereby putting the new 2030 policy in action. The Education Policy 2030 is a ten-year education strategy document underpinned by the values of resilience, courage, knowledge, and happiness. The strategy document includes five pillars to attain this vision: equity, teaching, skills for the future, well-being, and quality of education - under which further objectives are described. The policy addresses goals and challenges that Icelandic society faces and the policy is also streamlined toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The policy covers all levels of education, including teacher education.