ReferNet Iceland held its annual conference on 25 November 2015.

This was a special occasion because it is the final year in which the Icelandic Centre for Research – Rannís – is its national coordinator. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture decided in 2014 that the newly established Directorate for Education would apply for the framework contract for the years 2016-20. The reason was that, according to the act on its establishment, the Directorate is an institution aiming to improve the quality and progress of education and training in line with government policy and the best international guidelines. Rannís and the Directorate, therefore, invited all stakeholders to a common conference where the past, present and future were discussed.

Ágúst H. Ingthórsson, the head of education and culture division of Rannís opened the conference by going through Cedefop’s 40 year history. He had participated in Cedefop’s anniversary conference in the summer and brought back new information on the institution and what it has accomplished ([1]).

Elsa Eiríksdóttir, Assistant Professor at the School of Education at the University of Iceland, gave a presentation on ‘learning outcomes’ explaining the term and what it means for school and training workplaces. The term is so new to Icelandic education policy that the assessment of learning outcomes has proved quite difficult, at least for some institutions.

Arnór Guðmundsson, the director of the Directorate for Education, talked about the role  it will have in learning policy in general and in vocational education and training (VET) in particular.

Kristín Runólfsdóttir explained the roles of the occupational councils in establishing new learning pathways and maintaining and updating older ones.

The final speaker, Ársæll Gudmundson, project manager at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, presented current work on a new VET policy, in line with a white paper on better education published by the Ministry in 2014. He urged all present to contribute to this policy and called for cohesion between stakeholders.

The event was very positive in the respect that all participants showed enthusiasm and interest but it is with regret that Rannís says goodbye to ReferNet, even though it will be left in the very capable hands of the staff of the Directorate of Education.



([1]) A detailed article he has written on the subject will be published in the Eramus+ newsletter.