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Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The Icelandic parliament is responsible for education in Iceland, developing the basic objectives and administrative framework. More specifically, all forms of education fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture. Directed by a Secretary General, the Ministry is divided into three offices: 1) the Office of the Minister and Secretary General, which encompasses four departments (Administration, Financial Affairs, International Relations, and Legal Affairs), 2) the Office of Educational Research and Development, and 3) the Office of Cultural Affairs. Each of the offices is supervised by a Director General. The Ministry is directly responsible for insuring that legislation is implemented, planning system changes, and issuing educationally-based regulations. For example, the Ministry issues National Curriculum Guidelines for compulsory and upper-secondary schools that offer detailed educational objectives with specific information pertaining to how they should be met. However, responsibility for compulsory education shifted from the State to authorities within the local municipalities. While upper-secondary schools are managed by school boards with representation from the Ministry, the local authority, teachers, and students, higher education institutions are the sole responsibility of the Ministry. In general, supervision of education occurs at the local level with final responsibility residing with the Ministry. Eight regional authorities share responsibility for primary education; each authority, headed by a superintendent, appoints an education council of three to five members for four year terms. The eight educational regions are further subdivided into districts with local school boards responsible for running primary schools.

Between 1968 and 1995 an experimental Lab-school operated in conjunction with the University College of Education. The teachers experimented with various teaching methods and arrangements. Many of them were active in teacher education, and were promoters of topics such as educational drama, team teaching, integrated curriculum, the Scottish storyline approach, media-studies, hands-on science, new math, creative writing and inquiry-based reading instruction.

For more than a decade, two funds have assigned grants to developmental projects at the compulsory school level. Each year between 40 and 60 projects are provided support. The projects differ in size and scope, but most are small scale projects dealing with curriculum development in a limited area, small surveys, special education efforts, particular teaching projects, the compilation of curriculum materials or experimentation with teaching methods or assessment procedures.

Ingvar Sigurgeirsson, an Icelandic educational researcher, attempted to identify the extent to which innovative teaching methods have been adopted in schools throughout the country. Head teachers and deputy heads in 200 Icelandic schools (96.6 percent of all compulsory schools in 1994) were interviewed. Respondents in 28 schools (14 percent) emphasized that alternative (to the traditional model) teaching methods were frequently applied (thematic studies, topic work, work with various resources) in their classrooms. The remainder continued use of the traditional form of teaching. Despite this, pedagogical research has expanded dramatically and there has been considerable growth related to teaching ideas and models. In particular, research has focused on cooperative learning, "effective school" and "effective teaching" research, developments in authentic and constructivist learning, and the assessment and promotion of teacher research.

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceIceland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education