Námsgagnastofnun, The National Centre for Educational Materials (NCEM), is a state-run publishing house, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Education in Reykjavík, Iceland. NCEM provides the compulsory schools (6-16) in Iceland with all kinds of educational materials: books, educational software, online materials, video and CD´s. The activities of NCEM are financed by annual budget allocations from the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi. The organisation has three divisions: FinanceEditorial, and Production and Distribution with a total of 27 employees. NCEM’s board consists of seven members who are appointed by the Minister of Culture and Education.

Allocation and distribution

NCEM publishes educational materials in accordance with the national curriculum guidelines for schools, issued by the Ministry of Culture and Education and the Centre’s own checklist.

Each year, we distribute approximately 800,000 copies to some 45,000 students. Educational materials are provided the schools without cost in accordance with law. Textbooks and workbooks are a majority part of the publications, most of them written in Icelandic, however, some are translated from other languages.

NCEM buys and produces educational videos that are distributed to the schools from the organisation’s own educational film library. The publication of online educational materials increases each year, as an increased emphasis is placed on the information technology and electronic media in schools.

The Editorial Department has seven editors who divide the projects by academic subjects. Numerous independent authors, translators, photographers and other artists, as well as programmers work for the NCEM every year.


NCEM has frequent and good collaboration with teachers, principals and offices of education nationwide regarding the presentation and distribution of educational materials, and advisory opinions on individual academic programmes or titles.

NCEM is a member of two international associations, IGEP (The International Group of Educational Publishers) and ICEM (The International Council for Educational Media).

Head office

  • General administration, coordination and financial planning
  • International relations

Editorial Department

  • Planning and editorial development of educational materials
  • Curriculum development and services for special education

Department for Production

  • Technical consultation, lay-out and design
  • Printing and production of materials

Department of Distribution

  • Distribution, purchase and sale of educational materials
  • Order service for schools and acts as an intermediary on the provision of materials
  • Video library for schools

For more information about education in Iceland, follow namsgagnastofnun.is.