Kåre Hendriksen & Hans Peter Christensen
Greenland is a modern society with Self Governance, but only half a century ago it was primarily a fishing and hunting society governed as a colony by a Danish elite. The rapid changes have left Greenland with many social problems, and compared to Western Europe relatively few finish education beyond public school.
Since 2001 the Technical University of Denmark has offered a study program in Arctic Engineering primarily targeted at Greenlandic youth, but also students from, for example, Denmark, where the first three semesters are finished in Greenland. There are two main objectives for this program: to educate professionals with a deep understanding of the Arctic, and to give the Greenlandic youth a better chance of getting a higher education. To align the teaching philosophy with the Greenlandic students’ cultural background, the curriculum structure has large interdisciplinary courses based on authentic local cases and intercultural group work.
This paper will focus on the challenges caused by many of the Greenlandic students’ weak academic preparation, and the fact that the cultural background embedded in the Greenlandic language can make it very difficult to comprehend topics at an abstract level. Additionally, the group work and the class teaching are challenging due to the culturally-based reticence and conflict-averse nature of many of the Greenlandic students, which gives the Danish students a dominant position. This often creates a negative spiral, where many Greenlandic students tend to withdraw from discussions, which are an important part of the education. The paper will discuss our experiences with handling these challenges.
The potential for developing human capital in the North rests on improved education outcomes for secondary school students. As part of Northwest Territories and Nunavut education systems’ respective aims towards improved results, new curriculum materials are being developed in the North. One aim for these materials is to overcome persistent inequalities in educational achievement outcomes in the Canadian North.
The territorial education departments developed a mandatory curriculum module regarding the history and legacy of the Canadian governments’ former policies of assimilation, and forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families to residential schools. This curriculum and accompanying resource module was piloted in high schools during the 2012-2013 academic year. This article presents a study conducted in collaboration with the territorial departments of education in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, evaluating the curriculum initiative.
It examines how Northern Canadian youth connect difficult history with their identity, and become capable of and committed to community and civic engagement in their own lives. Because it is a region undergoing rapid development and governance changes, fostering critical citizenship amongst students is vital. Compassionate students who can think critically will be positioned to improve the Canadian North, and the wider circumpolar Arctic.
Lenore A. Grenoble & Carl Chr. Olsen, Puju
An indigenous-driven project, the Arctic Indigenous Language Initiative is working to reverse language shift through active engagement and collaboration throughout the circumpolar region. The project is defined and determined by the Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council, who are working to collaborate with researchers, representatives from Arctic Indigenous organizations and Arctic governments, language activists, and policy makers. While the long-term goal is to achieve vitality and sustainability for Arctic indigenous languages, the first measures center around assessment in three key areas: (1) Arctic language policy; (2) language acquisition; and (3) language vitality. We discuss each of these three areas, including the creation of indigenously defined assessment metrics; the establishment of feedback mechanisms from the community, including community-based (peer) review of findings; and the role of academic linguists and community members.
Critically, we explore the mechanisms for creating policy changes at all levels, and the measures needed to turn the findings of the assessment teams into action to promote Arctic indigenous language vitality. We address the challenges of working across such broad geographic territories, spanning multiple national boundaries, and the challenges of working with so many stakeholders with such diverse interests.
People have been migrating to, from, and within the Arctic regions for centuries. Because of the small overall population size and small size of settlements, migration has a significant impact on overall population change and changing human capital in the Arctic. Much of the migration in the Arctic is driven by changing resource availability. This is true of the migration of Arctic indigenous peoples as well as the movements of outsiders. The various booms and busts of resources drive much of the migration in the Arctic, though climate change is having an increasing impact in some settlements. This chapter examines both internal and international migration movements in the Arctic. Internal flows are those within Arctic countries and regions and include movements up the urban hierarchy from smaller to larger settlements which is the predominate trend. International migration are flows to and from the Arctic from other countries.
Flows of people from outside the Arctic to work in resource extraction projects have increased in recent years. Movement of Arctic natives to outside the Arctic has also become common resulting in a large Arctic diaspora population. Following discussion of broad migration flows is a disaggregation of those flows by age, gender, and level of education, key factors affecting human capital in Arctic regions and settlements. The focus of the paper is on how migration flows impact human capital in the Arctic both positively and negatively. Policies of Arctic countries and regions towards migration is examined as the state plays a larger role in impacting the spatial distribution of the population than elsewhere.
This paper examines the earnings development and labour force participation of female immigrants compared to Swedish-born women in Västerbotten and Norrbotten (Sweden). A total of 10% of the women residing in these two counties have a foreign background. Female immigrants, mostly originating from Finland, Norway, Thailand, Iraq, and the former Soviet Union, vary greatly in their cultural and family values, education, and job experiences. Ethnic and geographical differences in labour market outcomes are hypothesized in the paper. The study is based on panel data analysis of registered individual data for the period 1995–2009. The data presented here show that differences in earnings and labour force participation can be explained by individual characteristics such as age, education, civil status, and years since migration. Ethnic differences diminish with integration period, though not in each group of immigrants. Gaps in labour outcomes are less evident for skilled immigrants. The ethnic differences are also less pronounced for female labour immigrants compared to women who immigrated for other reasons. There is a slight geographical variation in labour market outcomes, but no obvious trends are seen in the spatial distribution of them.
Distance education in the Northern regions of the Russian Federation contributes to solving Circumpolar North educational problems by delivering quality courses to remote areas, simplifying the organization of joint US-Russian educational and scientific projects and creating international student communities in both countries. Many Russian universities are developing their own learning management systems and using asynchronous courses. The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is increasing the interest in the use of information and communication technology and open learning resources and networks. In 2008 the UArctic Thematic Network on Distance Education and E-learning began to function. In 2014 the Natural Hazards Thematic Network of UArctic organized a workshop to develop an online course in natural hazards. The Internet and distance education create a new opportunity for indigenous peoples to study a native language and knowledge.