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Althingi (the Icelandic parliament) and the Ministry of Education are responsible for establishing a framework of the education system. The daily operation of nursery and primary schools is in the hands of local authorities, who are each responsible for schools in their area. The Department of Education at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture 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 on educational material.
Numerous NGO’s 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, serves 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 organisations such as Home and School – The National Parents Association provides 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 suggest for example that cooperation should be evident in internal and external inspection of schools.