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Sisimiut, Greenland

April 2016

Anders Øgaard, PhD on distance learning in Greenland

Anders is employed at the teacher education in Greenland. He told us about the conditions for distance learning in Greenland. He also told us about a research project that has begun that has little prior research on the field. He explains how they always plan according to the optimal conditions, but repeatedly experience how that doesn’t work because the optimal conditions are not present. One of the points in the research project is that there is no research on the field concerning primary education. The prior research is only concerning adult education. There is an implicit assumption that distance education is conditioned by self-management and linked to the notion that the student, have a degree of autonomy and maturity.


I Australien er det f.eks. et helt individuelt forløb - men man kan faktisk godt etablere fællesskaber og det giver teknologien også muligheder for. De studerende/eleverne er produktive ind i et virtuelt læringsforløb. Medierne er ikke med til at isolere os - men kan også være med til fælleskabe.


Barfuss Ruge, internettikkut.gl


Our partner in the project has been working with flexible education for 13 years. She told us that there are submarine cables to Nuuk and Manitilsoq now and other towns are connected through a radio network. It is very expensive and that is why it is big that it has just been decided that Sisimiut will also be connected via submarine cables.


Barfuss also told us how 20% is monolingual in Greenlandic and 10% is monolingual in Danish. The rest is bilingual. Multiple Greenlanders has lost their Greenlandic language, due to them being students when the educations were taught only in Danish. 2/3 of the country does not have any further education than primary school, but the educational level is booming right now.


The clash of cultures is visible with high-educated Danes, who go to Greenland for averagely three years. The set of values is very different from each other. Being humble is the Greenlanders characteristics. A little is enough, holding back is good and taking it slow is okay. Children with this cultural background is playing with Danish children where big is better, quick and fresh, upfront and outgoing. The Greenlanders is a very family-oriented people and being able to be with your family is the highest priority. This can cause some challenges when trying to create distance learning projects.


Some of the barriers for distance education in Greenland is that the education needs to be developed in Greenlandic, internet is expensive and difficult, and a lack of vision. To successfully develop distance learning in Greenland there is a need for initiative which comes when the Danes go and start visionary projects, but unfortunately ends when their three-year contract ends.


There is a large gap from upper secondary school to higher education and a solution to this could be a fourth year of upper secondary school.




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Responsible editor

Louise Neubert Eskildsen