The country is sometimes erroneously called The Republic of Iceland and sometimes its counterpart Lýðveldið Ísland in Icelandic, but the official name is rather like the official name of Canada - simply the country name. One example of the former is the name of the Constitution of Iceland, which in Icelandic is Stjórnarskrá lýðveldisins Íslands and literally means "the Constitution of the republic of Iceland", but note that "republic" is not capitalized. The official title of the President of Iceland (Forseti Íslands) does also not include the word republic as in some other republics. See also Names for Iceland.
The system of education in Iceland is based upon the American system, and there are four levels: playschool, compulsory, upper secondary and higher. Education is mandatory for children aged 6–16. Most institutions are funded by the state; there are very few private schools in the country. There are 192 institutions catering for compulsory education, 42 schools for upper secondary education and 9 higher education institutions.
The oldest gymnasium in the country is Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, which traces its origin to 1056, when a school was established in Skálholt. The school was moved to Reykjavík in 1786, but poor housing conditions forced it to move again in 1805 to Bessastaðir near Reykjavík. In 1846 the school was moved to its current location, and a new building was erected for it in Reykjavík. The University of Iceland was the first higher education institution in the country, and was established on 17 June 1911, uniting three former Icelandic schools: Prestaskólinn, Læknaskólinn and Lagaskólinn, which taught theology, medicine and law, respectively. The university originally had only faculties for these three fields, in addition to a faculty of humanities.
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (born 15 April 1930) was the fourth president of Iceland, serving from 1980 to 1996. She was the world's first elected female president. She was Iceland's first and so far only female president and head of state. In 1980 she was the first woman in the world to be elected the head of state in a democratic election. She was narrowly elected over three male opponents. She was subsequently reelected three times (in 1984, in 1992, and overwhelmingly in 1988), before retiring in 1996. Although the Icelandic presidency is largely a ceremonial position, she took an active role in promoting the country as a cultural ambassador and enjoyed great popularity. Currently, she is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and a Member of the Club of Madrid.