Background of Education in Iceland

The first national education law was the 1907 education law, and the first national curriculum was published in 1926. Although the curriculum was periodically revised, the overall education system was not significantly modernized until the Compulsory Education Act of 1974, which mandated special education services for all students with disabilities.

According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture:
" A fundamental principle of the Icelandic educational system is that everyone should have equal opportunities to acquire an education, irrespective of sex, economic status, residential location, religion, possible handicap, and cultural or social background. "

The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture has the jurisdiction of educational responsibility. Traditionally, education in Iceland has been run in the public sector; there is a small, although growing, number of private education institutions in the country. Over the years, the educational system has been decentralised, and responsibility for primary and lower secondary schools lies with the local authorities. The state runs upper secondary schools and higher education institutions.

The Ministry issues the National Curriculum Guidelines. The National Centre for Educational Materials publishes educational materials for education institutions, and issues them free of charge. The Educational Testing Institute is the country's sole examination board; responsible for issuing and grading national assessments.

There are 192 institutions catering for compulsory education, 42 schools for upper secondary education and 9 higher education institutions.