Iceland has a general compulsory schooling for children
aged 6-16. The school duty was introduced in 1907 for all
children aged 10-14. Previously, the training was based on
voluntary teaching, which was mainly run by the church. In
1934, compulsory schooling was extended by three years and
in 1946, compulsory schooling was extended for another year.
The school system received four levels, and the
municipalities were given the opportunity to run school for
five- and six-year-old children. Teaching for six-year-olds
now occurs in most municipalities. In contrast, schooling
for five-year-old children is only offered in a few places.
In 1974, the former four-part system was transformed into
a three-part system. The three school levels are a 9-year
elementary school, a 2- to 4-year high school and college.
The purpose of the laws of 1974 was to give all students the
same opportunity to study what suits their interests and
Iceland is sparsely populated with many small
municipalities, which is why the municipalities have had to
work together to be able to carry out teaching in sparsely
populated areas. For example, a large number of boarding
schools have been set up for primary school education. There
are also a couple of boarding schools for high school youth.
Since the 1990s, there are a number of educational options
based on distance education. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Iceland.
At the upper secondary level there are two main options.
One is regular high school, where only 4-year theoretical
education is given. The other alternative is two- to
four-year secondary schools, where both theoretical and
vocational education are provided. In total, there were 34
upper secondary schools in Iceland in 2012. The Bachelor's
degree requires four years of study, which gives access to
university education. In addition to the two main
alternatives, there are some specially oriented schools at
the upper secondary level, e.g. business school and
vocational and vocational schools.
The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) in Reykjavík
was founded in 1911. It has 25 special faculties with a
total of just over 13,000 students (2011), including
postgraduate students. At the university level there has
also been a teacher's college in Reykjavík since 1971. Many
students choose to study abroad, most in Scandinavia and the
There are few countries with a market economy where the
exporting companies have as little equity and as large loan
capital as the Icelandic ones - especially in fisheries and
fish processing. This is not because the owners spend
relatively more on their own consumption than in countries
with higher equity. On the other hand, this is mainly due to
new investments being made with loan capital. New
investments in fisheries and processing are made from public
fund capital, which receives their income from product
taxes, government loans from abroad or directly with
government grants. The same applies to industry, albeit with
a lesser percentage coverage, and to agriculture which also
receives direct subsidies for cultivation of new land.
Working capital comes from the banks.
A large part of the loan capital is managed by state
banks, which are led by people who have more or less obvious
connection to the individual parties. Inflation has
generally been higher than the borrowing rate, and there has
been great demand for loan capital. This has made political
control over the lending institutions particularly
important. The strong public participation in investment is
not politically justified, but is a consequence of the fact
that wage costs play such a large role for export companies.
A large part of the fishery and fish processing is run by
companies wholly or partly owned by the public - municipal -
or cooperative. These are also companies that attract low
private capital. As an example, the country's largest
shipping company was created by the municipality of
Reykjavik and controlled by the Independent Party's
municipal council majority. Within the regular factory
industry, the cooperation is the most important grouping -
the cooperative factories are run in a coordinated way.
Municipalities do not play a major role in this sector. The
private factories are spread over many different owners and
industries. The state is a sole producer of fertilizers and
cement and has also engaged as co-owner in a few major
The retail trade outside Reykjavik is dominated by the
Cooperation Act, which has its main focus in the sale of
agricultural equipment and the processing of agricultural
products. Reykjavik, on the other hand, is the stronghold of
the grocery store. The export trade in fish is entirely in
the hands of legally protected country associations of
producers. The import trade is dominated by private
wholesalers, but the cooperative's country also has a large
import. Companies within the construction industry - which
are of quite varying size - are predominantly privately
owned. Housing is usually self-contained, and many are
"self-built". An association of contractors, the cooperative
and the state has taken care of military civil engineering
tasks and obtained these without a tender. Both here and in
the import trade there is public control and there is
virtually no competition.
The largest concentration of privately owned capital is
found in two large transport companies. One operates
shipping exclusively for the country's own shipping needs,
and the freight is usually subject to price controls. The
other is an airline in international competition. There is
no stock exchange. Shares are such an essential part of
corporate capital that the lending institutions have usually
demanded personal guarantees from the board members - yes,
in some cases even by all the shareholders. People without
their own business, but with good income, have gladly
invested their available funds in housing in Reykjavik and
surrounding areas, as well as in government bonds that
provide a high and safe return.
For wage labor organizations, it can be difficult to
define one's counterparty in wage negotiations.
Contradictory political loyalty in the wage-earner
organizations also does not make it easier to gather a
responsible wage policy. Only in one case (1944-46) has the
country had a government that gathered, so to speak, all the
voices of organized wage workers. Since then, fundamental
disagreement on the base question has ruled out such a
coalition if other obstacles have not. Under the two left
governments, the Independence Party succeeded in turning the
wage workers against the government's wage policy with the
same type of agitation that the Left otherwise stands for.
These were good years for the wage workers. After both
governments there was a slippage in favor of the
Independence Party (in 1958 and 1974).
The wage conflicts have in some cases become of lasting
political significance. The law on unemployment benefit is,
for example. a result of the biggest strike in the country's
history - in 1955. In 1966, the state intervened as a
broker, and in order to avoid a major conflict, the
implementation of massive housing construction for workers
in Reykjavik was promised. In 1969, it was agreed to create
a pension fund for the members of the individual unions.
These funds are managed as loan institutions by the unions
and employers jointly. In 1973, workers in the fillet
industry demanded more employment than they had until then.