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ACA’s Icelandic member organisation Rannís, together with the Icelandic Ministry for Education, Science and Culture and the National Union for Icelandic Students have recently organised a well attended conference in Reykjavik to discuss the results of the EUROSTUDENT VI survey for Iceland and their meaning for the Icelandic higher education system. In March, the EUROSTUDENT VI report was published and also featured in ACA newsletter. Iceland participated in the survey for the first time, with results based on the responses of 2000 students. The Icelandic Ministry for Education, Science and Culture and Rannís were responsible for Iceland’s participation in the project.
The survey reveals that the social conditions of students in Iceland are in many ways particular in comparison with other European countries. It is nowhere as common to be aged over 30 or to have children while enrolled in higher education. Students in Iceland spend more time on studies and paid jobs than anywhere else – 50 hours per week – and they consider their financial situation difficult. At the same time, their level of satisfaction with the organisation of studies and timetable, study facilities and teaching quality is high, and they have more experience than the average European student with cross-national mobility.
At the event, the Minster of Education and Culture, Lilja Alfredsdottir, described the results of EUROSTUDENT VI as a turning point for higher education policy dialogue in Iceland by allowing for the first time for a comparison of student conditions across countries, which will give valuable input to the upcoming revision of the Icelandic Student Loan Fund. Students, researchers and other experts discussed in panel the link between the economic and social conditions of students and access to mobility and all agreed that sufficient funding opportunities and support to people with families are essential to ensure equal access to international opportunities.