Reducing the Number of Iceland’s Universities Advised Skip to content

Reducing the Number of Iceland’s Universities Advised

Foreign specialists warn against cuts in the educational system, especially in the elementary schools. They propose instead a merger of universities, reducing their number from seven to two, one private and one state-run, with emphasis on innovation.

Reykjavík University. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The international committee of specialists, which was appointed by the Icelandic government at the beginning of this year, presented its recommendations to the ministers of education and industry and the rectors of Iceland’s universities on Monday, Fréttabladid reports.

The committee is chaired by Christoffer Taxell, chancellor at the Aabo Akademi University in Finland. He served as minister of science and technology in Finland during the banking collapse in the early 1990s and has remained a prominent figure behind the Finnish economy.

“The Icelandic educational system is fine in many ways but we think discussion and decision-making in policy issues is a little too dispersed,” Taxell said.

The committee recommends that the prime minister attends all meetings of the science and technology council and that these meetings be used as a platform for forming real policies and making decisions.

Taxell stated it is important to look towards the educational policy following an economic crisis. “It is an accepted notion that education is the best way to change the world.”

Furthermore, it is important to continue to invest in education at all levels. “Especially concerning elementary school where the basis is laid for all other education,” Taxell argued, adding that decisions on changes must be made as soon as possible.

Minister of Education Katrín Jakobsdóttir said the summer will be used to review the committee’s proposals and that she would like to continue cooperating with its members.

“There are many interesting things there and we will continue working on this. Some things are very good and other things need to be looked at in more detail,” Jakobsdóttir concluded.

Click here to read about planned cuts to the school system and here to read a feature about two of the largest universities in Iceland.

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