Opposition calls announced changes 'short-sighted'
Alþingi debated announced changes to Iceland’s secondary schools in a special session on Wednesday. The government has announced plans to shorten the pre-tertiary programs from four years to three. At the same time, a limit will be set to the number of students enrolled. Options for adults over 25 years old to study at that level will also be severly reduced.
‘Menntaskóli’ is the name of non-mandatory educational institutes that end with ‘stúdentspróf’, a mandatory certificate to enter universities. Traditionally, the majority of menntaskóli-students enroll at age 16 and finish at 20. Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð was the first school to offer evening classes catering to older students, in 1972. It has announced that its adult education program will be terminated fully at the end of this year.
Critics among the opposition call the plans short-sighted and say they show lack of ambition. Oddný G. Harðardóttir, social-democrat Coalition MP, said that “facilitating wage negotiations with teachers by limiting the number of enrolled students” revealed a lack of ambition. According to RÚV, members of the opposition found themselves in unison during the debate.
Minister of education, Illugi Gunnarsson, replied to critics by claiming that according to the government’s budget proposals, gymnasium funding will be increased in 2015.