Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 334

334 Arctic Yearbook 2014   The vast distances, the limited infrastructure and the small size of the population create challenges as well. Transforming the economy from one that is primarily focused on fisheries and the public sector, into a globally competitive knowledge-based economy with relevance for the private sector is not easy. In a country where costs are high and education levels are currently low (Naalakkersuisut 2014), a lot needs to happen before a competitive knowledge-based economy will become reality. The School of Minerals and Petroleum (Råstofskolen) plays a central role in this context and is expanding its network (Christensen 2012; Troelsen 2012). The challenge for Greenland will be to establish a critical mass of skilled labour and to deal with the challenge of foreign labour influx if oil and gas activities really take off. The Development of Greenlandic Knowledge Institutes and Education Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but has gained Home Rule since 1979 (Goldback & Winther-Jensen 1988) and it was granted Self-Rule in 2009 (Hansen 2014). Up until 1979 Denmark was initiating the policies and reformations of the educational system, but since 1979 this became a major responsibility of the Greenlandic government. Changing the primary language from Danish into Greenlandic was one of the most important decisions taken just after gaining Home Rule in 1979. Since then the teaching system has been more and more tailored towards the Greenlandic situation (Goldback & Winther-Jensen 1988). In 1983 the Inuit Institute was founded in Nuuk as a study centre for Greenlandic literature, history and grammar (Olsen 2013). Later, in 1987, the Inuit Institute became the University of Greenland, Ilisimatusarfik ( The University was established to provide higher education in Greenland itself, instead of in Denmark. Like its predecessor, the University of Greenland has remained focused on social sciences, culture and history until to date. It has contributed to nationbuilding and Greenland’s cultural identity (European Commission 2013). Over time, the university has maintained and established cooperation with various foreign universities and is also part of the University of the Arctic ( Since 2004 the Greenlandic government has determined that education is a top priority (Naalakkersuisut 2012). This is reflected in the increased government budget and attention to education and training as of that year (European Commission 2007). In 2006 it became an aim of the Greenlandic government to increase the share of higher educated people in its workforce (European Commission 2007), supported by an overall education strategy up until 2020 in the “Greenland Education Program”. The first phase (until 2013) of the Greenland Education Program aims at vocational training and making sure people acquire the right skills and qualifications for jobs above an unskilled level. The second phase (until 2020) focuses on the provision and increase of higher education to build up a critical mass of human capital locally. The European Union has identified education as a main domain for cooperation with Greenland. Creating Human Capital and a Knowledge-Based Economy In a world economy that becomes increasingly globalised it is important to create sufficiently large human capital that is qualified, flexible and competitive in order for Greenland to make economic Smits,