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Original version10.1007/978-3- 319-07473-3_22
Teaching children to read and write at home has been a general custom in Iceland from at least as early as the sixteenth century (Thorláksson 2003, pp. 186, 386). However, the development of a primary school system did not start until in 1907 when school attendance was made compulsory for children aged 10–13 and primary schools were gradually established in all towns and rural communities. The development of the academic branches of the upper secondary and tertiary school systems can be traced back to two church schools founded in the twelfth century. These schools were the precursors of the General Grammar School of Reykjavik founded in 1904 and the Theological Seminary founded in 1847. Together with the School of Medicine founded in 1877 and the School of Law founded in 1908, the Theological Seminary was merged into the University of Iceland in 1911. The development of the vocational branches of the present upper secondary and tertiary school systems can be traced back to the period between 1880 and 1920 when several special vocational schools were founded and to the 1930s when secondary schools offering 2- and 3-year courses with their emphasis on practical subjects were opened in most of the towns and rural regions.