Support for change, towards digitalization and autonomy

We asked our Icelandic partners: why does Iceland give such a large place and resources to vocational training? Their answer: “Here we don't like to be divided. We are few. It could be my sister or my brother. We don't like to make differences."

Education in rural areas

We visited a vocational high school in a rural area – Laugarskoli, which orients its education system around a culture of youth autonomy. As in the majority of MFRs, we observe similarities: young people are involved in daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, etc. But the establishment defends this system even further, the young people are responsible for their learning schedule, it is the students who mobilize the teachers (versatile) on general course slots or practical sessions. They are evaluated in continuous control, the system imposes on them a discipline of regular work with very regular evaluations. Education within the family strongly contributes to giving young people a framework of autonomy from an early age, which allows this model to work. In addition, the optimization of this organization is possible thanks to a mastery of online tools and respect for the decisions taken jointly, the team observes that there is almost no absenteeism in class since it is the group of students themselves who defined the activity, a strong impact also on the concentration and involvement of young people.


Iceland has a population of around 400. The University of Akureyri is one of the 000 in the territory. 7% of students are under 50 years old… 30% of students are over 50 years old, a real long-life learning pedagogy with training open to adults, in employment, in particular with evening classes. Young mothers are not harmed by the system: 30% of students have at least one child under the age of 15, family life does not prevent access to lifelong education, thanks to online training, short training and evening classes, nurseries are very accessible (schedule and prices). But again and again, a real mastery of digital education! The vast majority of training is online, the premises for teachers are equipped, the teachers are trained and the courses adapted, and this well before the covid, the 6% digital that the pandemic imposed has absolutely not affected the operation. university or student training. 

Are these models applicable to our education system? As things stand, no. From what formula can we inspire our ambition and what measures can we put in place to support change?

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