Reykjavík Evens Out Fees for Daycare and Preschool

preschools in iceland

The City of Reykjavík is increasing its subsidies to daycare providers so that parents of children 18 months and older will pay the same fees whether their child is placed with a daycare provider or in a public preschool. The changes were approved at a meeting of the Reykjavík City Council this morning.

In the last election cycle for Reykjavík City Council, campaign promises were made that children would be guaranteed a spot in preschool from the age of 12 months, when government-mandated parental leave ends. This has not yet been realised, with staffing shortages and long waiting lists remaining widespread in the capital area. Children are currently guaranteed a place in public preschools from the age of 18 months, though not necessarily in a preschool near their home.

The changes to fees take effect in February 2024 and will apply retroactively from July 1, 2023. The changes do not apply to children under 18 months of age. Daycare providers are permitted to charge an added fee for additional services that are not included in the standard fee, for example for diapers.

The council also approved a motion stipulating that parents who have children who turned 18 months old between June 1, 2023 to January 31, 2024 can apply for an increased subsidy for childcare fees.

 

Students Turned Away Despite Shortage of Tradespeople

Up to 1,000 students are turned away from vocational apprenticeships every year in Iceland due to the schools’ lack of funding, RÚV reports. At the same time, Iceland is experiencing a shortage of tradespeople in the labour market. Vocational schools need ISK 2 billion [$14.5 million, €13.3 million] to make ends meet and improve their equipment.

“This is, of course, an unacceptable situation while there is a great need for tradespeople in the labour market,” stated Sigurður Hannesson, director of the Federation of Icelandic Industries (SI). The organisation recently conducted an analysis that is the source of the above figures. The analysis indicates that vocational schools’ facilities are bursting at the seams, and many are operating at a deficit in order to accept more students.

Interest in vocational programs surged after a promotional campaign carried out by SI and the government several years ago. “But now the government needs to take the next step, which is to improve the facilities and provide the schools with more funds so they can actually accept more students,” Sigurður stated.

Tækniskólinn is the main vocational school in Reykjavík, with 13 trade-specific programs. Others exist in Akureyri and Sauðarkrókur, North Iceland; Neskaupstaður, East Iceland; and other locations across the country. Sigurður says the Minister of Education Ásmundur Einar Daðason is very willing to address the situation but stresses the urgency of taking action now.

Yellow Weather Warnings Across Iceland

yellow weather warning

Yellow weather warnings are in effect across Iceland for much of today and tomorrow. The South, West, Westfjords, and Northwest of Iceland, will experience strong winds and heavy snow today, with poor visibility expected. Conditions will improve in some, but not all, regions tomorrow.

Wind speeds are expected to reach 10-18 metres per second across the aforementioned regions today, with gusts of up to 15-23 metres per second. Driving conditions will be difficult, with heavy snow showers making for poor visibility. Conditions will improve in South and West Iceland tomorrow morning but worsen again in the afternoon. Calmer weather is expected across Iceland on Saturday.

Travellers are encouraged to monitor weather conditions on the Icelandic Met Office website and road conditions and closures on road.is.