Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 133

133 Arctic Yearbook 2014   of education. This article starts an initial discussion of the theme that might be further explored in future work. The research base consists of research papers and conferences on distance education in the Arctic; government documents and legislation; website information of international and Russian universities; statistical sources; and mass media including online sources. To analyze the base of research, the following research methods were used: a comparative analysis of Arctic and Russian distance education; distance education reports and material contextual analysis; the legalistic method of analysis; and a comparative quantitative analysis of social and educational indicators. Background Education in the Arctic The North is a vast area characterized by its remoteness. For a definition based on human geography, the Arctic would better be termed the remote region occupying the northernmost expanses of Asia, Europe, and North America (Berman 2013). Huskey and Morehouse (1992) described a remote region as an area with a unique combination of features. Remote regions are remote geographically, economically, and politically. They are distant from large, urban industrial and political centers, and they are sparsely settled. Most of them contain Native or indigenous populations as well as non-Native immigrants, and they have a mix of traditional and Western institutions. Typically, they have limited market economies, and they are dependent on natural resource exports, government transfers, and subsistence activities. The costs of doing public and private business are high. Important decisions affecting these areas are made in distant metropolitan centers. These remote regions lack both political autonomy and economic self-sufficiency. A significant implication of these characteristics is that most of the researchers view remote regions as problem areas suffering from a complex set of physical, economic, and political limits on their security, welfare, and autonomy. Development, in this view, is a process of overcoming obstacles to desired