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Homeschooling in Iceland is a Privilege of Teachers. Help us Defend this Natural Right!

by the Legatelois Family • October 5, 2018

The Icelandic primary school system is facing a crisis. A third of the boys are illiterate after 10 years of study, and one in 10 14-year-old girls worry that they might get bullied. We have some of the most drugged children, and recent government efforts have only exacerbated the situation.

It may be wrong to put the whole blame on the system, but parents here simply don’t have any choice. School is mandatory, and there are only a handful of alternatives, which must also follow the state curriculum.

A well-known fact from economics is that a lack of competition leads to a lack of competence. So, it is not surprising to see a monopolized school system like ours deteriorate.

Homeschooling outperforms regular schools and could be a way of reversing this trend. It is really a natural right of parents to educate their own children, but in Iceland parents most likely accept the current situation because they do not know better. They think state-run schools have full responsibility for the education of their children.

What is the current situation of homeschooling in Iceland exactly? Let us review some highlights of history.

  • In 18th century Iceland, parents were legally required to teach their children to read, write and study the Bible. Literacy was very high.
  • In the late 19th century, primary schools were formed in a few towns and a mandate to teach arithmetic was added.
  • In 1908, children were required to attend school from age 10 to age 14. The school system continued expanding throughout the 20th century.
  • Between 1995 and 2009, homeschooling was only allowed in a few cases, as an exception from the system. In 2009 a regulation on homeschooling was introduced, which requires one of the parents to hold a teaching license. Homeschooling parents must also follow a curriculum based on the state curriculum.

It is not unique for a country to have a bad educational system, or a government that fails to recognize the fundamental rights of its citizens. Limiting homeschooling to certified teachers is otherwise unusual, and presents an opportunity for homeschoolers around the world to make their case, not only for Icelanders, but other countries that have unfair homeschooling laws.

How can you help? By signing this petition you will show support for the efforts under way to change the homeschooling regulation in Iceland. When signing the petition, your signature will be sent directly to Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Iceland’s Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

If enough signatures are gathered, there may be a case to go to the European Court of Human Rights, and if they agree that restricting the freedom to homeschool to teachers is against one of the main principles of any western constitution; equal rights before the law; the case for allowing homeschooling in other countries would be strengthened.