Why Iceland is participating in Atlantic Rim Collaboratory:
Iceland is honored to participate and host the Atlantic Rim Collaboratory (ARC) inaugural summit in Reykjavík in September 2016. The fundamental principles of the Icelandic education system is that everyone shall have equal opportunity to acquire education, irrespective of sex, economic status, residential location, possible handicap, and cultural or social background. These principles are in line with the ARC vision.The National Curriculum Guidelines defines 6 fundamental pillars of education: 1. Literacy in a wide sense, 2. Democracy and human rights, 3. Equality, 4. Education for sustainability, 5. Creativity and 6. Health and welfare. These pillars are interrelated and interdependent in education and school activities and guidelines for general education and work methods in schools. Implementing the fundamental pillars in schools allows for wide collaboration beyond the school walls and assumes an active partnership with the homes of children and young people, youth and sports organisations.
Series of educational reforms are currently taking place in Iceland following the publication a White Paper on educational reform in 2014. The White paper spells out two main goals for the Icelandic education system: to increase attainment in reading and to increase the rate of on-time graduation. The vision is for young people in Iceland to enjoy the same opportunities to live and work in an ever-changing world as their counterparts in other countries. To make this possible, students should have access to education that meets the highest international standards.
Positive school atmosphere should characterize all schoolwork and school leaders shall strive to contribute to positive communication, mutual trust, solidarity and mutual responsibility of staff, students and parents. Parents should be actively cooperating with the schools and regularly consulted on the behaviour and well-being of the student.
One of the most important factors influencing the performance of an education system is the education and work of teachers. A Teachers Council was established in 2013 with the aim to improve professionalism in education in Iceland and develop the Continuous professional development of teachers and school administrators. If we are to succeed in preparing young people for life and work in the 21st century, the education and competence of teachers must reflect the values of education and competences which we want their students to acquire. Therefore it is important to lay down clear principles for teachers’ competence, knowledge, skills and attitudes, based on student learning objectives.
Iceland is looking forward to host the inaugural summit in Reykjavík which will hopefully be the beginning of a fruitful collaboration and improved policy making in the educational systems involved.