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.
Dear UNESCO, It was a great honour when Reykjavik became a UNESCO City of Literature in 2011 and we Icelanders are very proud to be counted as one amongst seven amazing cities carrying this title. Realising this is not a temporary title, but a title for keeps which carries a certain recognition and prestige, we have become apprehensive about it and would therefore like to bring a few points to your attention. In a new budget proposal, the present Icelandic government has proposed to raise the sales tax (VAT) on books from 7% up to 12%. The immediate and obvious
Statistics Iceland (SI) raised a few eyebrows when the institution announced that it would as of September include estimates of various illegal activities when calculating Iceland’s GDP and balance of payments. Drug trafficking, smuggling and prostitution are now included among the more “traditional” industries in the state’s official GPD calculations, a move that SI claims will increase Iceland’s GDP by 0.47%. Understandably, the institution’s announcement generated a loud “whaaat!?!?” across social media, as people attempted to make sense of this unexpected addition to the Icelandic economy. It just made no sense! Why would the statistics bureau be interested in boosting
The Faroese trawler ‘Næraberg’ was fishing for mackerel in Greenlandic waters when its engine suffered a malfunction. As the Icelandic Coast Guard was best situated to help, it sent a plane out to the trawler with spare engine parts, which it dropped in a parachute. The Faroese crew retrieved them in a dinghy and went to work repairing the engine. Another lovely story of cooperation in the North Atlantic Ocean, where hard men with soft hearts help each other survive. After the attempted repairs, the engine could only produce a fraction of normal power. The ship set course for Iceland.
Today, Monday, Professor Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarson, the Icelandic neoliberal experiment’s chief ideologue since the late 1970’s, recommends that the Icelandic right wing draw a lesson from the Swedish election results, as well as the rise of Britain’s UKIP, and uphold stronger xenophobic policies: “struggle against immigration and sever the ties to the EU”. Teacher, journalist and right-wing pundit Páll Vilhjálmsson wrote a blog post titled ‘Nuclear bombs are Christian‘ suggesting that the West nuke parts of the Middle-East to teach its inhabitants a lesson. “The rise in militant muslims in this part of the world will sooner rather than later
Like young people the world over, Icelandic youths like to humiliate younger kids for fun. This behaviour takes many forms, but the one that has been in the news lately is secondary school hazing. In Iceland, primary school ends at sixteen and almost everyone starts secondary school the following autumn, although a secondary education is not compulsory. Traditionally, new students are hazed by students in the fourth and final year, with each school having their own set of rituals. Yes, if humiliation and endangerment is a tradition, then it’s okay. These hazing rituals are generally harmless. New students are made
To generalise: Icelanders are a greedy bunch. After we escaped from the claws of Danish colonialist rule, the national imperative has been to make as much money as possible. You can say money makes Iceland turn, even though the Mickey Mouse money we call “the Icelandic króna” hardly qualifies as a currency. I guess we’re no different than any other Western country then. Savvy Icelanders have always been adept at finding their golden eggs. First, the nation got rich by working for the UK and US militaries who looked after us through the Second World War. You could say that