Iceland - Education



There is virtually no adult illiteracy. Education is compulsory for children ages 6 to 16. In 1997, there were 29,342 students enrolled in 193 primary schools. In 1996, secondary schools enrolled approximately 31,000 students. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 11 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, all (100%) of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 76% of those eligible attended secondary school. Special schools include a commercial high school, a school of navigation, two schools of agriculture, and continuation schools. The University of Iceland in Reykjavík, founded in 1911, has faculties of law and economics, theology, medicine and dentistry, philosophy (art and humanities), and engineering. Tuition is free; only nominal registration and examination fees must be paid. In 1997, post-secondary institutions had a combined enrollment of 7,908 students.

In some remote rural areas, a system of "alternate teaching" is in effect. This allows children to study intensively for a week or two at a boarding school, then return home for the same period of time. There are three main types of secondary schools: grammar schools, comprehensive high schools and vocational schools. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 7.1% of GDP.

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