Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Ongoing reforms and policy developments


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

Last update: 16 November 2022

This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2020.

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 
  • School education

  • VET and Adult learning

  • Higher education

  • Transversal skills and Employability

Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.

Overall national education strategy

The Ministry of Education and Children is responsible for the implementation of legislation at all school levels from pre-primary and compulsory education through the upper secondary. Higher education falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. The Ministry of Education and Children oversees producing national curriculum guides, for issuing regulations and planning educational reforms. The Ministry is also responsible for evaluation of the school system, assessment of schools and national assessment of pupils according to the legislation. The Ministry also gives the Parliament reports on a regular basis on the operation of schools at pre-primary, compulsory and upper secondary level. 

Government´s policy and 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


To boost applications for initial teacher education (ITE), several novelties were introduced in 2019 including a new grant, accessible only to 5th year students of ITE, aimed at reducing graduating students' need for study loans during their final year. A spike in applications for initial teacher studies was seen in autumn 2019.  Efforts are to be continued under the renewed coalition. Toward this goal and to better open opportunities for teachers to flow within and between school levels, a new legislation on the teaching profession was passed in 2019 (Act 95/2019 on education, qualification and hiring of teachers and school-heads of pre-primary, compulsory, and upper secondary schools). The legislation has been in force since January 2020. with the new legislation, only one licence is granted for all teachers, regardless of the school level of the intended teaching (instead of ISCED-level specialisation). 

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.