Universities in Greenland


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About universities in Greenland

Greenland is an autonomous island country within the Kingdom of Denmark, situated between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. From a physical or geographic standpoint, Greenland is actually part of the North American continent, but for more than a millennium now the country has been much more politically, culturally and educationally associated with Europe, particularly with Norway and later Denmark.  With total land space of over 836,000 square miles, Greenland is by far the largest island in the world, and with a population of merely 56,600 it is also the world’s least densely populated country.
 
Greenland became a colony of Denmark in 1814 after being under the rule of Denmark-Norway for hundreds of years.  It would remain a colony of Denmark until 1953, the year in which Greenland became a commonwealth within the Constitution of Denmark.  In 1979 the country was granted “home rule,” which is defined as the power of a constituent of a state to exercise powers of governance within its own administrative area, and in 2008, even more power was transferred from the Danish royal government to the local Greenlandic government.  Today Denmark remains in charge of Greenland’s defense and financial policy, providing a subsidy of 3.4 billion dollars a year, but all other government duties, including higher education, are now handled by Greenland’s local government.
 
Higher Education in Greenland
 
After being granted home rule in 1979, the local Greenlandic government appointed a minister of culture, education and research.  Under the Minister are two deputy ministers who manage the daily operation and administration of the directorate, which is divided into two units.  One deputy minister oversees vocational education in the country, while the other is responsible for primary and secondary education, along with Ilinniarfissuaq (Centers for Teacher training), Inerisaavik (Centers for Pedagogical Development and In-Service Teacher Training), Ilisimatusarfik (Universities), and research.
 
Teacher training in Greenland is currently governed by a law enacted in 1989 which aims to provide a comprehensive system of education and training for the country’s current and future teachers at the primary and secondary levels.  Qualified secondary school graduates who wish to pursue a career in teaching in Greenland must first progress through a three year campus-based program or a four-year field-based program, with the final year completed in one of the Centers for Teacher Training.  Additionally, those who become teachers must participate in periodic in-service trainings in accordance with the School Act, enacted in October of 1990.  The main objectives of these in-service trainings are to “contribute to the fulfillment of the act’s educational goals and to ensure that teaching methods and practices will continue to develop in accordance with the development of Greenland’s society.”
 
While many eligible students still seek higher education outside the country, particularly in Denmark, Greenland does have one university that is well-attended.  The university is divided into three departments:  Greenlandic Language and Literature, Culture and Society and Administration.  Each of these departments offers studies leading to examinations at the Bachelor and Master’s Degree levels.  Prior to beginning their studies in one of the three departments, all students must first pass an introductory year.  Only Greenlandic-speaking students who have successfully graduated from high school are eligible to attend the university.
 

List of universities in Greenland

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Contact: University of Greenland

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