Country information for Iceland - Teacher education for inclusive education
Central to Iceland’s reform agenda is the emphasis on strengthening the teaching profession. Since 2008, a five-year master’s degree is required to become a teacher in Iceland. The main objective is to improve teacher professionalism in Iceland. Ultimately, however, it is the leadership and professional capabilities of teachers, administrators and all the people involved in education and their co-operation that will bring about and sustain positive changes. (Source: Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education – country information, p. 2)
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture has issued a law on education, qualifications and recruitment of teachers and school administrators at pre-primary schools, compulsory schools and upper-secondary schools (No. 95/2019).
The School of Education at the University of Iceland and its predecessor, the Iceland University of Education, has been the leader in teacher education in Iceland for over 100 years. The School of Education educates teachers for pre-primary schools, basic schools and upper-secondary schools, sports and health scientists, social educators and leisure professionals. The School is divided into three faculties:
- Sport, Leisure Studies and Social Education
- Teacher Education
- Educational Studies.
The Faculty of Teacher Education
This faculty offers undergraduate and graduate studies in teacher education and pre-primary teacher education. In addition, it offers teacher certification studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- Teacher Education (Bachelor of Education, 180 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits – ECTS)
- Pre-Primary Teacher Education (Bachelor of Education, 180 ECTS)
- Teacher Certification (60 ECTS)
- Teaching Studies (Master of Education, 120 ECTS)
- Teacher Certification (60 ECTS)
The Faculty of Sport, Leisure Studies and Social Education
This faculty offers academic programmes in sport and health sciences, leisure studies and social education.
- Sport and Health Sciences (Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science, 180 ECTS)
- Leisure Studies (Bachelor of Arts, 180 ECTS)
- Social Education (Bachelor of Arts, 180 ECTS)
- Sport and Health Sciences (Master of Education and Master of Science, 120 ECTS)
- Leisure Studies (Master of Education, 120 ECTS)
- Social Education (Master of Education, 120 ECTS)
The Faculty of Educational Studies
This faculty offers graduate studies in education, as well as international studies in education. In addition, a variety of professional master’s programmes are offered for practising teachers and administrators in pre-primary, primary and upper-secondary schools, as well as vigorous research-based programmes at the master’s and doctoral levels.
- International Studies in Education (Bachelor of Arts, 180 ECTS)
- International Studies in Education (Master of Arts, 120 ECTS)
- Education Studies (Master of Education, Master of Arts, 120 ECTS and Doctor of Education, 180 ECTS)
- Educational Administration and Evaluation Studies (Master of Education, 120 ECTS)
- Special Education (Master of Education, 120 ECTS)
- Educational Studies with an Emphasis on Philosophy of Education (Master of Education, 120 ECTS)
- Educational Studies (Ph.D., 180–240 ECTS)
Due to the shortage of fully trained special educators, many special schools and units hire regular teachers on a temporary basis. The same applies to mainstream schools. Approximately 5% of teachers employed at compulsory schools in Iceland are trained special educators.
The School of Education course catalogue contains further information about teacher education.
Continuing professional development
The Academic Council on teacher professional development was established in the autumn of 2012. The Council works on projects in the field of lifelong learning and professional development of teachers in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools.
The universities in Iceland offer varied professional development courses for teachers. There are various funds that support schools based on applications to strengthen school development and support in-service training for teachers. The Teachers’ Union also has funds to support teachers’ professional development. (Source: Raising the Achievement of All Learners in Inclusive Education – country information, p. 7)
Last updated 05/02/2020