Education Policy 2030 is a ten-year strategy that outlines an overall vision for Iceland’s education system based on the values of resilience, courage, knowledge, happiness and sustainability. The strategy builds on Iceland’s previous collaborations with the OECD and draws on evidence from international research. For example, Iceland undertook an assessment of its system using the framework of the Education Policy Outlook. Thus, the key pillars of the strategy – equal opportunities for all, superior teaching, skills for the future, putting well-being first, and quality at the forefront – align with challenges previously identified by the OECD. Iceland began work on the strategy in 2018, published a draft document in 2020, and has sought guidance from the OECD on turning the document into an actionable implementation strategy. In this process, Iceland has also involved stakeholder groups through a series of meetings with representatives from municipalities, parents, students, teachers, and other interest groups during 2018 and 2019 and through an online public consultation in 2020. An OECD assessment found that this process has built trust and enthusiasm among stakeholders. At the same time, the report encourages Iceland to develop more permanent methods of engagement, involving stakeholders throughout the implementation process.

Implementation is due to take place in three phases over ten years, with an implementation plan and performance indicators for each of the phases. Moving forward, the OECD has recommended that Iceland prioritise key issues identified in the strategy and analyse the impact of existing policies in order to clarify how they relate to new measures.

Further reading: OECD (2021[6]) "Iceland Education Policy 2030 and its implementation", OECD Education Policy Perspectives, No. 32, OECD Publishing, Paris,

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iceland launched the first draft of a comprehensive strategy to support the academic attainment and well-being of learners with a mother tongue other than Icelandic. The proposals were the result of a working group established by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in 2019, in response to an increase in the number of students with an immigrant background in the Icelandic education system, from ECEC to upper-secondary schools. They include measures to support immigrant students’ successful transitions between different levels of the education system, including incentives to promote collaboration across school levels. There are specific measures that aim to improve parental engagement and prepare teaching professionals to teach in multicultural and multilingual contexts. In September 2020, the Ministry also published a set of guidelines containing practical ideas to implement support for mother tongues and active plurilingualism in schools, after-school programmes, and within the family. The guidelines are aimed at parents as well as professionals, and support schools to co-operate with families. The proposed actions of the draft strategy will be part of the implementation of the Education Policy 2030, with resilience as one of the core values.

Further reading: Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Iceland (2020[7]), Policy Draft: Comprehensive policy on the education of students with a mother tongue other than Icelandic, (accessed on 1 March 2021).


Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Iceland (2020), Policy Draft: Comprehensive policy on the education of students with a mother tongue other than Icelandic, (accessed on 1 March 2021). [7]

OECD (2021), “Iceland Education Policy 2030 and its implementation”, OECD Education Policy Perspectives, No. 32, OECD Publishing, Paris, [6]

OECD (2020), Learning remotely when schools close: How well are students and schools prepared? Insights from PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [2]

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, [1]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [4]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [5]

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, [3]

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