Elementary schools that charge parents for field trips during regular school days have been given a warning from Samfok, the union of parents’ associations in Iceland, because, according to the Ministry of Education, charging for such trips is illegal.
“This is first and foremost a warning to schools about not overrunning themselves, but also a warning to us parents about not paying every charge from the schools silently and without protest,” head of Samfok Hildur Björg Hafstein told Fréttabladid.
According to the Ministry of Education, it is illegal to charge students or their legal guardians for school trips categorized as field education or as part of other obligatory education as stated in the law on elementary schools from 1995.
Hafstein said schools are entitled to funds from the Reykjavík City Educational Council for field trips, like trips to the theater or to museums. If the schools would like to spend more money on field trips, they have to be organized in cooperation with the relevant parents’ association.
“Either the local authorities have to contribute with higher funds or the schools have to reduce field trips other than those where parents have participated,” Hafstein concluded.
Kristinn Breidfjörd, vice-president of the Icelandic Union of Principals, said schools may have been wrong in charging parents for school trips. “It wouldn’t surprise me that the schools have been in a grey area, but I’m not sure that this interpretation [of the law] clears all problems. We have to look into this in more detail.”