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Education in Iceland - Statistics & Facts

The education system of Iceland is divided into four levels: pre-primary education, primary education, upper secondary education, and higher education. More than one third of the population has completed tertiary education. Furthermore, the educational attainment is higher among women than men. In Europe, the Icelandic government spent the highest share of its gross domestic product on education.

A high share of public schools

In Iceland, education is mandatory for children between six and 16 years of age. A vast majority of the primary schools are public, and education is generally free of charge. Upper secondary education is not mandatory, but is available for every student that has completed primary education. Upper secondary students are usually between 16 and 19 years old, and there are more women than men graduating from upper secondary schools. Furthermore, female students enjoy reading more than their male counterparts. There are around 40 upper secondary schools in Iceland, and a total of around 20,000 students.

Higher education: no tuition fees and studying abroad

There are seven universities in Iceland, four of which are public. Students do not have to pay tuition fees at public universities, only registration fees. Despite this, many Icelandic students choose to study abroad. The United States was the most popular destination, followed by England and Denmark. The most popular area of study among Icelandic students is Social Sciences, Business, or Law. The University of Iceland, located in the capital Reykjavik, is the oldest in the country and was opened in 1911. In 2019, 4,269 people graduated from universities in Iceland. Of these, around 650 were Icelanders with a foreign background.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 42 most important statistics relating to "Education in Iceland".


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