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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary Education


6.Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary Education

Last update: 27 November 2023


This chapter relates to upper secondary education and will therefore contain information solely about upper secondary education for pupils between the ages 16 to 19. For more information on Iceland's single structure compulsory school (grunnskóli) which includes lower secondary education see: 5 - Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education.   

The follwing information will contain information on both general upper secondary education and vocational education and training (ISCED 3) as general and vocational upper secondary education has a common core curriculum (the National Curriculum Guide) and are often offered at the same schools.  The beforementioned curriculum guide is equivalent to a ministerial regulation. 

Upper secondary education and training in Iceland normally serves the 16–19 age group. General study programmes normally last three years and lead to a university admission qualification. Vocational education and training normally last 3-4 years, depending on the VET subject and may in part be work-based (an apprenticeship). All education at the upper secondary level is governed by the Upper Secondary School Act of 2008, which primarily defines the framework for education at this level, its objectives, provisions and the role and responsibility of the parties involved in providing education at this level. More detailed provisions regarding implementation of upper secondary education are to be found in regulations, issued on the basis of the beforementioned act. 

In Iceland vocational education and training normally includes apprenticeships, delivered by both public and private institutions. The National Curriculum Guide, as for all upper secondary education, covers and guides for vocational branches of study.