Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture together with respective local authorities have the overall responsibility for the quality of education in pre-primary and compulsory schools in Iceland. The Ministry is responsible for the quality of education in upper secondary schools. The Ministry is responsible for carrying out evaluation of schools and their activities to ensure that schooling complies with provisions of the law on education and the National Curriculum Guidelines.
As a part of its responsibilities, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture the Icelandic Directorate of Education (Menntamálastofnun). evaluates and supervises schools on a regular basis. This applies to evaluation of pre-primary, compulsory and upper secondary schools and schools that offer special education as to other schools. The purpose of evaluating schools externally is to obtain an overall picture of each school's activities or of specific aspects there at any given time.
According to the School Acts of 2008 the municipalities are obliged to administer evaluation and quality control of school activities and provide the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture with information regarding implementation of school operations, internal evaluation of schools, external evaluation by municipalities, process of school policy and plan for improvement.
Parents can be indirectly involved in external evaluation of ECEC as members of a setting council or board and as participants in focus groups. They can also be involved in internal evaluation although there are no specific instruction available as to how this involvement should be and is subject to local autonomy. Article 18 of the Preschool Act no. 90/2008 states that parents' participation is to be recruited as appropriate.
Requirement for Appointment as an Inspector
External evaluation is conducted by evaluators from the Directorate of Education for pre-primary schools, compulsory schools and upper secondary schools. Evaluations are carried out by an inspector from the Icelandic Directorate of Education jointly with an outside inspector.
Inspectors are mostly recruited from among former teachers and head teachers with teaching experience from inspected school level or persons with education in evaluation processes.
All inspectors who visit schools and have contact with children must sign a confidentiality agreement and undergo criminal record checks before their appointment is confirmed.
Conditions of Service
Inspectors working at the Directorate are the Directorates employees and have the status of civil servants, other hired as outside inspectors are contracted for each individual inspection.