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east Iceland university Reyðarfjörður Egilsstaðir
Photo: Reykjavík University. From left: Austurbrú Director Jóna Árný Þórðardóttir, Alcoa-Fjarðarál Social Affairs Director Dagmar Ýr Stefánsdóttir, Síldarvinnslan Project Manager Sigurður Ólafsson, Rector of Reykjavík University Ari Kristinn Jónsson, and University of Akureyri Rector Eyjólfur Guðmundsson.

East Iceland to Open First Local University

Residents of East Iceland will be able to pursue university studies locally for the first time next year thanks to a program being jointly developed by Reykjavík University and the University of Akureyri. Instruction will take place in the town of Reyðarfjörður and will emphasise on-site teaching of technical subjects rather than distance learning. Local industry representatives say there is a need for university-educated staff in technical disciplines. RÚV reported first.

Reykjavík University will already begin offering preparatory studies for higher education in East Iceland this autumn, with university-level studies set to be offered starting in 2022. The program is being set up in collaboration with the University of Akureyri (located in North Iceland), continuing education centre Austurbrú, and representatives from the local business community, including the seafood and aluminium industries, two of the region’s main employers. While West and North Iceland have offered local university studies for some time, such higher education has not been available in the eastern region.

“The supply of distance learning has increased greatly in recent years and that is very positive. But Reykjavík University has always had the unique position of prioritising on-site learning, focusing on group projects, focusing on very direct connections with instructors and teachers, with the business community, and thus building their knowledge and knowledge within the community without having to leave the area,” Ari Kristinn Jónsson, Rector of Reykjavík University, stated. “This is something we have done elsewhere in the country and it has succeeded brilliantly and we look forward to seeing it thrive, grow, and prosper here in East Iceland.”

The seafood industry and Alcoa’s Fjarðaál aluminium factory are two of the region’s main employers, and both industries require staff with technical training at the university level. Several local businesses have founded a joint scholarship to support students in the program. “It’s very important for us who are running large companies here in the east to get this education in the area.” Dagmar Ýr Stefánsdóttir, Communications and Social Affairs Director at Alcoa-Fjarðarál, stated.

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