The effects of regional and distance education on the supply of qualified teachers in rural Iceland

Thoroddur Bjarnason*, Brynhildur Thorarinsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers have been traced to insufficient services and amenities in rural areas, an urban emphasis in teacher education, few local students becoming teachers and a lack of teacher mobility. This study maps the mobility of recently graduated teachers in urban, exurban, micropolitan and other rural areas of Iceland. The graduation rate of teachers was found to be higher in rural than urban areas, yet rural teachers are less likely to remain after graduation. Relatively few rural teachers return from on-campus studies in the either the capital area or the northern regional centre. Rural distance students are however almost equally likely as urban on-campus students to stay in their home areas after graduation, and they are the majority of teachers in rural areas. From a policy perspective, distance education appears more effective than regional campuses in increasing the supply of qualified teachers in rural and remote areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-804
Number of pages19
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Icelandic Rural Research Fund. The contribution of Ingi Runar Edvardsson, Ingolfur Arnarson, Kolbrun Osk Baldursdottir and Skuli Skulason to the collection of data and formulation of the research project is gratefully acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors. Sociologia Ruralis © 2018 European Society for Rural Sociology.

Other keywords

  • Education
  • Distance education
  • Teachers
  • Rural
  • Migration
  • Universities


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