The number of students at levels above compulsory education decreased from the previous year
There were 42,589 students at levels above compulsory education in Iceland in the autumn of 2015, a decrease of 1,346 students from the previous year (3.1%), mostly due to fewer students at the upper secondary level. There were 19,086 males in education and 23,503 females. The number of males decreased by 874 from the previous year (-4.4%) and the number of females by 472 (-2.0%).
There were 23,085 students at the upper secondary level, a decrease of 4.4% from the previous year. At the post-secondary non-tertiary level there were 866 students, almost the same number of students as the year before. Education at the post-secondary non-tertiary level is added on to education at the upper secondary level, but is not at the tertiary level. There were 18,638 students at the tertiary level as a whole, a decrease of 1.5% from the autumn of 2014.
After an annual increase since 2011, the number of students at the doctoral level decreased by 10.4%, and was 465 in the autumn of 2015. Almost one-third (31.6%) of the doctoral students are foreign citizens and their number has been increasing. The number of students studying for a Bachelor degree also dropped from the previous year. On the other hand, there were 62 more students studying for a master’s degree (1.4%), resulting in 4,347 students in the autumn of 2015.
More 16 year old boys and fewer 16 year old girls in education
A total of 95.4% of 16 year olds attended education at the upper secondary level in the autumn of 2015, the same enrolment rate as in the autumn of 2014. In the autumn of 2015, 95.5% of 16 year old boys attended school, one percentage point more than in the previous year, and 95.4% of 16 year old girls, 0.9 percentage points less than in the autumn of 2014. Although the difference between the sexes is minimal, this is a change from recent years, as more 16 year old girls than boys have attended upper secondary education each year at least since 1991.
More females than males are in education in each age cohort from 17 to 29 years of age, and at the tertiary level from the age of 30. When looking only at the upper secondary level there are more males than females at the age of 20 to 39 years old.
Fewer 17-29 year old students
The enrolment rate in the autumn of 2015 was lower than in the autumn of 2014 in all age groups from 17 to 29 years old. A total of 80.9% of 18 year olds were in education, and less than one-half of 20 year olds (48.7%), the lowest rate for 20 year olds since 1999. It is possible that the favourable conditions in the labour market attract young people so that they decide to work rather than study.
More than one out of every three students at the upper secondary level was enrolled in vocational programmes
More than one out of every three (34.2%) students at the upper secondary level was enrolled in vocational programmes in the autumn of 2015, while 65.8% were enrolled in general programmes. The share of students in vocational programmes has not changed much during the last decade but was 36-38% in 2000-2005. The proportion of students in vocational education was higher among males, or 41.4% for male students, and 26.8% for female students.
The most popular programmes at the upper secondary level are the general programmes for matriculation examination. There were 4,865 students attending the line of natural sciences for matriculation examination and 4,320 in the line of social sciences for matriculation examination. When looking at the vocational programmes the broad arts programme has the largest number of students, 536; 477 attended the programme for assistant nurses and 448 the basic studies for electrical trades.
Most tertiary level students study social sciences, business and law
By far the largest number of students at the tertiary level studied the fields of social sciences, business and law, 36.7% of students. This proportion has stayed approximately the same since before the turn of the century. The second largest field was health and welfare, with 14.1% of students, 12.9% were enrolled in humanities and the arts and 12.2% studied education. In addition, 11.6% of students studied science, mathematics and computing and 8.5% studied engineering, manufacturing and construction.
The most popular lines of study at the tertiary level are in business and administration, with 1,393 students. There were 1,234 students studying computer science, 1,114 in psychology and 1,056 studying law. Other lines of study had fewer than 1,000 students.
About the data
Information is gathered directly from the schools and from the computer programme INNA used by schools at the upper secondary level, and refers to the number of students in the middle of October each year. The enrolment rate is computed by classifying students by age and domicile each year and computing their proportion of the relevant age group. The data on the students’ origin come from a Statistics Iceland database on the population according to immigrant status.