Privatization of early childhood education in Iceland

Kristín Dýrfjörð & Berglind Rós Magnúsdóttir. Privatization of early childhood education in IcelandResearch in Comparative and International Education

The overall aim of this paper is to give a comprehensive picture of the marketization of early childhood education in Iceland. Our theoretical framework is based on Hursh’s (2007) analysis of how the governance of schools is reshaped to serve a neoliberal agenda with the help of internal and external privatization (Ball and Youdell, 2007). In this paper we explore charter schools in Iceland, categorizing them according to Fabricant and Fine (2012), and shed light on how the most dominant charter school chain in Iceland, Hjallastefnan (e.g. the Hjalla-policy), is leading the corporatisation of public education. Our main data sources are policy and media documents and data from Statistics Iceland. Content analysis is our method of inquiry. Our findings indicate that Iceland is on a similar route to other Nordic countries, where privatization has become an ‘inevitable’ part of the education system. Internal privatization is shaping the sector, based on technical methods of delivering predetermined outcomes. External privatization, in the form of educational programs, is growing along with charter schools.

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