Thursday - 26 April 2012
More children in pre-primary schools - but fewer schools
In December 2011, 19,159 children attended pre-primary schools, more than ever before in Iceland. The number of children increased by 198 from the previous year, or by 1.0%. In spite of this increase, the proportion of 1-5 year old children attending pre-primary schools has not changed from the previous year and is around 82%. However, the proportion of one year old children attending pre-primary schools has decreased from 35% to 29% of the corresponding age group. The children’s daily attendance has also changed in that the proportion of children staying in school for 7 hours or longer per day increased from previous year.
Fewer pre-primary schools and more schools operating with compulsory schools as one institution
There were 265 pre-primary schools operating in December 2011, 12 fewer than in the previous year. The changes in the number of pre-primary schools have mostly taken place in ReykjavÝk were the number of schools decreased by 12 because of mergers.
Since laws on pre-primary schools and compulsory schools were passed in 2008 it is more common to operate pre-primary schools, compulsory schools and even music schools together under the management of one headmaster. In December 2011 this was the case for nearly 30 institutions. This mode of operation is more common in small communities in the countryside but there are examples found in larger communities as well.
The number of children with a foreign mother tongue increased by almost 100
In December 2011 a total of 1,908 children had a foreign mother tongue (10.0% of pre-school children), more than ever before. Their number increased by 93 (5.1%) from the previous year. Of these children 658 speak Polish, the most common foreign language of pre-primary school children as in recent years. The number of children with Polish as a mother tongue increased by 138 from the previous year, the number of children speaking Thai increased by 20 at the same time, while the number of children speaking Philippine languages decreased by 16.
The number of children with a foreign citizenship increases
In December 2011 there were 863 children with a foreign citizenship attending pre-primary schools (4.5% of pre-school children), an increase of 152 children from the previous year (21.4%). This increase coincides with the increasing number of children with a foreign mother tongue. This increase is mostly due to the increasing number of children from Eastern Europe (138) and the Baltic countries (13). Since 2008, when Statistics Iceland first received data on children┤s citizenship from Registers Iceland, the number of children with a foreign citizenship has increased by 282 (48,5%).
The number of students in Iceland increased again
With the publishing of data on children in pre-primary education, data are now available on the total number of students in Iceland at all school levels in the autumn of 2011. Since 1997 the total number of students increased year by year until the autumn of 2010, when the number of students decreased by 500 from the autumn of 2009. In autumn 2011 there were 107,741 students in Iceland from the pre-primary to the tertiary level, the highest number since the beginning of the data collection by Statistics Iceland in autumn 1997.