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Iceland
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Diagram of the education system



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Key

- Diagram of education system in country language

- Old diagram using ISCED 1997 classification

- General methodological notes for ISCED diagrams

Education system in Iceland

Iceland
Overview of the education system (EAG 2015)
  • Most young people in Iceland will enter tertiary education with a high proportion going on to master's programmes. In Iceland, 86% of young people are expected to enter a tertiary programme (the OECD average is 67%). Entry rates into master's programmes are 39% in Iceland, the second highest among the OECD countries, but only 52% of them start their master's before the age of 30.
  • In 2014, Iceland's employment rates among adults were the highest of any OECD country with available data for all levels of education: 77% of 25-64 year-olds with below upper secondary education, 87% of those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education, and 91% of those with tertiary education are employed (above the OECD average of 56%, 74% and 87% respectively).
  • In 2012, Iceland spent more than other OECD countries on educational institutions as a share of GDP. Including funds from both public and private sources, Iceland spent 6.4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on educational institutions from primary to tertiary education, compared to the OECD average of 5.3%. While expenditure on primary and lower secondary educational institutes amounted to 2.5% of GDP on average among OECD countries, it reached 3.3% in Iceland.
  • Children start pre-primary education very young in Iceland and enrolment rates are extremely high compared to the OECD average. In 2013, at least 96% of 3-4 year-olds were enrolled in either pre-primary or primary programmes in Iceland (compared with the OECD average of at least 96%). This is the highest percentage among all the Nordic countries except Denmark.
  • Despite the high number of teaching days, pre-primary teachers in Iceland have some of the lowest salaries. After 15 years of experience, the annual salary for a pre-primary teacher in a public institution is USD 28 459, which is about USD 10 000 less than the OECD average of USD 38 653.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

    Show indicators for which your country ranks among the top or bottom: Sort by:

    Educational outcomes

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (74 %, rank 32/41 ) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The enrolment rate among 20-29 year-olds in Iceland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (40 %, rank 3/37 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland, the number of expected years in formal education (all levels combined) between the ages of 5 and 39 is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (20 Years, rank 3/39 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Iceland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (96 %, rank 7/37 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood and primary education in Iceland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (97 %, rank 10/38 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland the percentage of young people expected to enter bachelor's or equivalent programmes during their lifetimes is comparatively high. (80 %, rank 2/36 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in full-time education for 5-39 year-old women in Iceland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (18 Years, rank 3/35 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in part-time education for 5-39 year-old men in Iceland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2 Years, rank 6/29 ) Download Indicator

    The expected number of years in part-time education for 5-39 year-old women in Iceland is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2 Years, rank 6/29 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young nationals expected to enter a bachelor's or equivalent programme during their lifetime is comparatively high. (68 %, rank 3/22 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland, the percentage of young people expected to enter a master's or equivalent programme during their lifetime is relatively high. (39 %, rank 3/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young nationals expected to enter a master's or equivalent programme during their lifetime is high compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (35 %, rank 2/22 ) Download Indicator

    The share of women among tertiary education new entrants is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (58 %, rank 3/28 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international students entering tertiary education in Iceland is relatively high. (18 %, rank 4/18 ) Download Indicator

    The share of female students entering bachelor's programmes in Iceland is relatively large. (59 %, rank 2/35 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international students entering bachelor's programmes is relatively high. (14 %, rank 6/22 ) Download Indicator

    The share of international students entering short-cycle tertiary programmes is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (30 %, rank 1/14 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of female students entering master's or equivalent programmes in Iceland is one of the highest compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (67 %, rank 1/35 ) Download Indicator

    The share of female students entering doctorate or equivalent programmes in Iceland is one of the largest compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (54 %, rank 2/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young people expected to enter tertiary education during their lifetime is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (86 %, rank 4/27 ) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    Classes are particularly small in lower secondary schools. (20 Students, rank 23/31 ) Download Indicator

    Classes are particularly small in primary schools. (18 Students, rank 25/32 ) Download Indicator

    The theoretical duration of primary and lower secondary education, in years, is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10 Years, rank 1/36 ) Download Indicator

    The number of grades that are part of compulsory primary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (7 Years, rank 1/36 ) Download Indicator

    Resources for education

    Annual expenditure per pupil at the pre-primary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10250 USD Equivalent, rank 5/28 ) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10003 USD Equivalent, rank 8/38 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (4 %, rank 28/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9 %, rank 31/35 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland, public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure is comparatively high. (14 %, rank 9/32 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland, public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (6 %, rank 2/38 ) Download Indicator

    The change in public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure between 2008 and 2012 is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (118 Index, rank 1/27 ) Download Indicator

    The share of public expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (91 %, rank 5/35 ) Download Indicator

    The change between 2005 and 2012 in private expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the smallest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (106 Index, rank 19/23 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland, expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies. (6 %, rank 10/38 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland, public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (6 %, rank 3/38 ) Download Indicator

    In Iceland, public expenditure on pre-primary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (1 %, rank 3/29 ) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of pupils per teacher in pre-primary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6 Students, rank 35/35 ) Download Indicator

    The number of students per teacher in primary schools is one of the smallest among OECD countries and partner countries with available data. (10 Students, rank 36/39 ) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively small in Iceland. (624 Hours, rank 28/32 ) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year upper secondary teachers spend teaching general programmes in public institutions is comparatively small in Iceland. (544 Hours, rank 26/32 ) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in pre-primary school is especially large. (227 Days, rank 1/28 ) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year pre-primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively large in Iceland. (1498 Hours, rank 3/26 ) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The percentage of secondary teachers older than 50 is especially high. (12 %, rank 8/36 ) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in lower secondary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (82 %, rank 4/37 ) Download Indicator

    Economic and social outcomes

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education is comparatively high. (91 %, rank 1/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (77 %, rank 1/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (87 %, rank 1/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old men without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (83 %, rank 4/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old men with upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (90 %, rank 2/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education is comparatively high. (94 %, rank 1/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old women without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (71 %, rank 1/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old women with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively high. (82 %, rank 1/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-old women with tertiary education is comparatively high. (89 %, rank 1/37 ) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with below upper secondary education is comparatively low. (8 %, rank 34/37 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a short- cycle tertiary education degree is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (88 %, rank 3/32 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (89 %, rank 4/38 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a master's or equivalent tertiary education degree is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (94 %, rank 1/32 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a doctoral or equivalent tertiary education degree is high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (99 %, rank 1/30 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (90 %, rank 1/29 ) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (79 %, rank 3/29 ) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 20-24 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively small in Iceland. (9 %, rank 35/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 15-29 year-old women who are not in education, are unemployed and are not in the labour force in Iceland is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8 %, rank 35/37 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 15-29 year-olds without an upper secondary degree who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively low in Iceland. (10 %, rank 29/36 ) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 20-24 year-old women who are neither employed nor in education or training in Iceland is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9 %, rank 35/36 ) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • On average, over 80% of tertiary-educated people are employed compared with over 70% of people with an upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and less than 60% of people with below upper secondary education.
    • Across OECD countries, compared with adults with upper secondary education with income from employment, those with a tertiary degree earn about 60% more.
    • Adults with higher qualifications were more likely to report desirable social outcomes, including good or excellent health, participation in volunteer activities, interpersonal trust, and political efficacy.
    • First generation tertiary-educated adults and tertiary-educated adults whose parents also hold a tertiary degree share similar employment rates and pursue similar fields of study.
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    • OECD countries have made significant progress in narrowing gender gaps in educational attainment, pay and labour market participation. Nevertheless, in tertiary education, young women are still under-represented in the fields of mathematics, physical science and computing.
    • One in five 20-24 year-olds is neither employed nor in education or training. In addition, young people with lower attainment levels are more likely to be unemployed than their counterparts with higher attainment level.
    • Participation in employer-sponsored education is strongly related to proficiency levels in key skills such as literacy and numeracy as well as to educational attainment. About 57% of employed adults with good skills in ICT and problem solving participate in employer-sponsored formal and/or non-formal education, while only 9% of adults who cannot use a computer and lack of problem solving skills do.
    • When parents' education is taken into account, adults with tertiary education are 23 percentage points more likely than those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education as their highest level of education to be among the top 25% in monthly earnings.
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    • In a majority of OECD countries, education now begins for most children well before they are 5 years old. Some 74% of 3-year-olds are enrolled in early childhood education across OECD countries.
    • The average primary school class in OECD countries has 21 students, and this average increases to 24 in lower secondary education. Larger classes are correlated with less time spent on actual teaching and learning and with more time spent on keeping order in the classroom. Specifically, one additional student added to an average-size class is associated with a 0.5 percentage-point decrease in time spent on teaching and learning activities.
    • Graduating from upper secondary education has become increasingly important in all countries. Analysing countries for which comparable trends data are available for 2005 and 2013, the first-time graduation rate at the upper secondary level increased from 79% to 84%.
    • Across OECD countries, 77% of individuals with a vocational upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification are employed - a rate that is 7 percentage points higher than that among individuals with a general upper secondary education as their highest qualification.
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    • Even though tertiary attainment is increasing, entry rate to more advanced tertiary degrees such as master's and doctoral levels tend to be lower than bachelor. More than one in two students is expected to enter a bachelor degree programme, compared to about one in five for master degree programmes
    • In most OECD and partner countries, labour market opportunities are better for adults with a master's degree or equivalent than for adults with a bachelor's degree.
    • Doctoral students tend to be much more internationally mobile than other students in tertiary education, and they are also more likely to study sciences and engineering. Women are still under-represented in doctoral programmes. In most OECD countries in 2013, around 45% of advanced.
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    • On average, OECD countries spend USD 10 220 per student per year from primary through tertiary education, with large variations between levels of education : Educational institutions spend an average of 1.2 times more per secondary student and 1.8 times more per tertiary student than per primary student.
    • Public funding accounts for 83% of funds for educational institutions from primary to tertiary education; varying from 91% for primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary educational institutions to 70% for tertiary institutions.
    • OECD countries spend an average of 5.3% of GDP on educational institutions from primary to tertiary education.
    • The share of private funding in tertiary education is increasing over the last 10 years, and the differentiation of tuition fees is increasing: About two thirds of private funding of tertiary institutions comes from households, through tuition fees.
    • More than 60% of current expenditure relates to compensation of teaching staff at primary and secondary levels. In most countries, salaries increased less since 2005 than between 2000 and 2005, and, only half of OECD countries show an increase in real terms between 2008 and 2013.
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    • Pre-primary and primary teachers earn 79% of the salary of a similarly-educated, 25-64 year-old full-time, full-year worker, lower secondary teachers are paid 81%, and upper secondary teachers are paid 83% of that benchmark salary.
    • Public school teachers teach an average of 1 005 hours per year at the pre-primary level, 772 hours at the primary level, 694 hours at the lower secondary level, and 643 hours at the upper secondary level of education. In countries with available data, the amount of teaching time in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education remained largely unchanged between 2000 and 2013.
    • The teaching workforce across OECD countries is ageing with the proportion of secondary teachers aged 50 or older climbed by 3 percentages points between 2005 and 2013, on average among countries with comparable data.
    • Teacher appraisal is legislated/required by policy or regulation in three-quarters of OECD and partner countries with available data.
    • Despite the increased use of ICT in a student's life, the use of ICTs in learning and pedagogy remains scarce. This may be because, among other things, teachers feel they are not sufficiently skilled in using ICT.
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    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.