The Icelandic Upper Secondary Student Union (SÍF) was founded on the 4th of November 2007 with the merger of the Icelandic Interest Group for Upper Secondary Schools and the Icelandic Vocational Student union, as the Icelandic Upper Secondary Student Association had been dissolved some years earlier. SÍF was founded to provide an effective interest group for all Icelandic upper secondary students, bridge the gap between VET students and other upper secondary students, and ensure that the rights and interests of upper secondary students are not infringed upon.
Who we are
Since its founding SÍF has been an effective promoter of student interests and the primary liaison between upper secondary students and the authorities.
The student body associations of every upper secondary school in Iceland, 31 in total as there are 2 in MR, are all members of SÍF and the union therefore speaks for all Icelandic upper secondary schools.
SÍF maintains a service contract with the Ministry of Education and Culture, and through the ministry has access to various state committees and councils which discuss matters relating to students. Through this cooperation SÍF can bring the voice of students to the table and influence decisions. SÍF also has a representative on the board of the Icelandic Student Loan Fund.
What we do
SÍF’s handles a variety of tasks; among them holding annual general assemblies and meetings with student representatives from all schools, commenting on proposals for new legislature and parliamentary resolutions, participating in individual events with its counterparts in other countries, assisting students and student associations, and handling other individual projects to improve the standing of students in upper secondary schools. In the parliamentary elections of October 2016 SÍF cooperated with the Icelandic Youth Council to hold the first Icelandic shadow elections in Icelandic upper secondary schools. 22 schools participated, and the project was very popular among principals, teachers, and students. On the 10th-13th of October the schools held a “democracy week” with panel discussions, presentations, and games. The week ended with an election on the 13th of October. The shadow elections were repeated in the parliamentary elections of October 2017, and the municipal elections in April 2018. SÍF hopes to hold these shadow elections in all future elections, as experience in neighbour countries shows that such elections contribute to youth awareness of and participation in elections.
SÍF is a member of OBESSU (The Organizing Bureau of European School Student Organizations), which represents European student interest groups. SÍF’s international officer and other board members participate in work for OBESSU several times per year. In its international work SÍF aims to strengthen relations with the organizations that stand closest to us in Europe, to work on common declarations and platforms for students, and build capacity within SÍF and OBESSU to better tackle student issues.
Hildur Björgvinsdóttir is SÍF’s secretary general.