Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, the Icelandic Minister of Education, Science, and Culture, looks to restructure the Icelandic school system, RÚV reports. In an interview with radio station Rás 1, Lilja revealed that work is already afoot to stage a long-term plan for education in the country until 2030.
Lilja believes that Icelandic authorities should look to Norway as a guiding light for education reform, as Norwegian authorities have just finished an extensive reboot of their educational system. “I am meeting with the Norwegian minister of education next week to familiarize myself thoroughly with their improvements. Those of us who are formalizing these strategic plans have to take in account the best from other countries.”
There are many challenges ahead, such as the fact that 70% of university graduates from the University of Iceland are women. “One problem we face that differs from the other Nordic countries is the substantial dropout rate at high-school level, where we are witnessing change. We are also experiencing a lot of change at university level. I was at the yearly meeting of the University of Iceland yesterday where it was revealed that 70% of graduates are women.”, Lilja commented.
Lilja’s plans will attempt to tackle the problem of manning teacher positions in the country, as well as taking an extensive look into the Icelandic student loan system. The minister also mentioned the education for those students whose native tongue is not Icelandic. “They have difficulties in our education system and we cannot overlook that. I believe firmly that education is for all, and all children in Iceland”, Lilja stated.
The graduation rates for men in the University of Iceland have gradually declined since the turn of the millennium, according to Vísir. “It’s a worrying state of affairs, that men are enrolling in lower numbers to the university. It’s a trend that needs to be turned, but it will take time”, Jón Atli Benediktsson, the president of the University of Iceland commented in 2017. Nearly all divisions in the University of Iceland feature women in the vast majority, expect for the division of engineering and natural sciences. “It matters that the society has is balanced in terms of gender in the labour market. That there isn’t a gender gap in the labour market in certain fields. That men and women can attend to the same subjects. And that especially applies to academic subjects such as in the university”, Jón Atli stated.
University of Iceland graduation rates
2001 – 41% of graduates were male
2006 – 34% of graduates were male
2017 – 28% of graduates were male