6.2 Administration and governance
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Althingi (the Icelandic parliament) and the relevant ministries are responsible for establishing a framework of the education system. Education affairs are now split between two ministries, the Ministry of Education and Children is responsible for preschools, primary schools, and upper-secondary schools but the higher education system is the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation.
The daily operation of preschools and primary schools is in the hands of local authorities, who are each responsible for schools in their area. The Ministry of Education and Children prepares policies for the education system and ensures their implementation. The department is furthermore responsible for administrational issues on all school levels, i.e. nursery school, compulsory school, upper secondary school, and university as well as lifelong learning and scholarships. It also oversees any innovations in the educational sector such as distance learning and the publication of educational material.
Numerous NGOs and trade unions contribute to the discussion of educational policy and may thus have an influence on it, directly or indirectly to varying degrees. Trade unions such as The Icelandic Teachers’ Union, and their member organizations, such as The Association of Teachers in Upper Secondary Schools and The Association of Teachers in Primary and Lower Secondary Schools, serve as a forum for informed discussion of the education sector and promotes progress and innovation thereof (http://www.ki.is/icelandic-teachers-union). Non-governmental organizations such as Home and School – The National Parents Association provide information, advice, and support for parents (http://www.heimiliogskoli.is/um-okkur/about-us/).
The Ministry of Education cooperates with local authorities, who are responsible for preschools and compulsory schools within their district. No laws specify how this cooperation is done in practice, but articles under the preschool act no. 90/2008 and compulsory school act no. 91/2008 suggests for example that cooperation should be evident in the internal and external inspection of schools.