Education as we know it is pretty similar in westernized countries. You have pre-school or kindergarten for the youngest children, primary school, high school/college and finally university. All these stages of education follow a similar structure with a similar hierarchy of subjects with mother tongue, math and science at the top, the humanities in the middle and the arts at the very bottom. This model of education dates back to the industrial revolution because there was an increasing demand for labourers with the basic skills that the education institutions of the time provided. This model is however severely out-dated in the world of the internet. The world is changing faster and new technology is being developed faster. Technological change will soon make jobs obsolete faster than they are created if that development hasn’t started already. It sure seems to be here already considering the fact that a lot of young people today who have completed a university education are having trouble finding a job in their field. Modern education strip mines our minds for particular commodities because of preconceived out-dated notions of what intelligence is. There is a lack on emphasis on the arts, creative thinking and truly utilizing the potential flexibility that the internet has to offer in the area of education. The dropout rate in Icelandic schools is a lot higher than in the other Nordic countries. An issue that has not been discussed enough is the fact that the dropout rate for boys is significantly higher than for girls according to an OECD report published in 2011. This is especially true of students who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD who often feel frustrated with the lack of options and do not feel engaged in what they are doing. I along with several of my fellow Pirate nominees for the upcoming parliamentary elections are planning to introduce an education platform that will hopefully end up as a parliamentary resolution that will introduce a set of policies that would greatly reduce the dropout rate and increase students’ interest in their own education. We are looking at several other policies that have already been applied with great success in other European countries. Putting a greater emphasis on creativity in schools both in the arts and in more formal subjects will greatly increase students’ ability to empower the multitude of different skills they possess. Teaching computer programming and code starting in primary school will prepare students for a future that is highly dependent on the internet and requires a lot more programmers. Half of the world’s population will be connected to the internet within the next four years and the internet economy is expected to double in that time. Philosophy and gender studies should also be taught in primary school in order to improve critical thinking and give children a greater understanding of equality. Introducing a more personalised form of education that suits each individual student will give students a greater ability to pursue their various talents. Online forms of education such as Coursera and Khan Academy have already been used as part of the curriculum in schools in other countries. It is only a matter of time before online forms of education start competing with the traditional forms. We need to speed up that process, because right now, we’re wasting a lot of valuable talent to an education system designed for the industrial revolution and we need an education that is designed for the future.
The use and adaption of folklore is changing rapidly in a country flirting with mass tourism, and some of us worry that the highway to cliché is paved with quick fixes. No one blames a visitor thirsty to learn about Icelandic storytelling traditions. However, for witnesses of the tourism circus, it’s worth considering which stories are being told and how they resonate with Iceland’s cultural legacy. Our generation is receptive to elusive and mystical elements, hence the rising interest in the study of folklore and old traditions. Perhaps this tendency is connected to a search for a new sense of
“I can say categorically that his investigation indicates that no one on the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident. What really hurts in matters of this sort is not the fact that they occur, because overzealous people in campaigns do things that are wrong. What really hurts is if you try to cover it up.” – Richard Nixon, at the start of the Watergate scandal. On August 26, Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson sent Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir a third letter regarding police investigations of her Ministry,
Historically, Iceland has seen some volcanic eruptions at a devastating scale. The most prominent in public memory is arguably the late 18th century Móðuharðindi, two years of brutal hardships caused by an eruption in volcanic ridge Lakagígar. The sky and sun darkened, while ashes destroyed pastures, and temperatures sank, leading to the death of an estimated 75% of the country’s livestock and a fifth of its human population. After 200 years of economic and technological progress, any such incident should now be easier to deal with. That seemed to be the case, albeit on a smaller scale, during the unforeseen
In case you missed reports, while traveling or otherwise enjoying Iceland’s ten days of summer, here are the latest news in brief, a summary of the last week or two. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð warns that, should fresh meat imports be allowed, a virus, common in foreign meat-products, might cause Icelanders to behave like foreigners. The populations of Britain and Norway still seem to behave normally, as they remain relatively Toxoplasma-free. That was the day after the Minister complained, on Facebook, that the Icelandic media did not pay due attention to Iceland’s weightlifting champions. It seems a countryman just won
Last week, the Russian government announced they would respond to Western sanctions over the situation in the Ukraine with some economic sanctions of their own—a full embargo on food imports from the EU, the US and several other Western countries. Norway, which is on the list of embargoed countries, is hit especially hard, Russia being the single most important market for Norwegian seafood exports last year. Immediately, many Icelanders exclaimed that this was great news! Fish exporters seemed especially happy, because—for some reason—Iceland was not included on the embargo list. The funny thing was, nobody knew for certain why. A
In Iceland, labour unions and employers’ organizations negotiate to establish parameters for pay and other benefits. Earlier this month, a 22-year-old new hire of Lebowski Bar made the not unreasonable demand of being paid according to the general wage contract. Apparently, her employer, instead of paying different rates for weekdays, weekends and nights—as is required by law—paid out a single hourly wage for all times of day and night. This isn’t ‘Nam. This is a paycheck. There are rules. Yes, the bar is named after ‘The Big Lebowski,’ but there is no need to make this article a collection of