Arctic Yearbook 2014
and young men – have been subjected to sexual abuse and the number of abortions is very high.
Greenland also has a very high suicide rate, with some districts’ rates among the highest in the world
(Bjerregaard 2004; Bjerregaard et. al. 2008; Bjerregaard & Aidt 2010). There is no immediately clear
geographical pattern or pattern relative to the size of the settlement, and the social and personal
problems are found everywhere. For instance, the social transfer costs4 per capita in the country’s
capital Nuuk corresponds with the national average (Hendriksen 2013).
Education – Quality and Level
Over the past decades, Greenlandic has been prioritized as the main language in the public (K-10)
school system, while Danish has become the first foreign language. It has obviously strengthened
the young people’s Greenlandic skills, although some still find it difficult to read and write
Greenlandic. It has also made them vulnerable in terms of societal communication and in particular
in relation to further education, as already in secondary schools they are met primarily by Danish
teachers, and most of the teaching is conducted in Danish. It is also very demanding as they have to
learn English as a third language.
The social and personal challenges faced by many in the wake of modernism and in the continuing
unequal context obviously has a bearing on the level of education, as does the challenge of learning
in a foreign system and often in a second language. And in practice, this dual challenge means that a
large group of parents also have barriers to supporting their children’s education.
The combination of the language challenge and the social and human challenges mean there is
limited social mobility in the community and it is noteworthy that social mobility in major
communities (‘towns’) is modest, while the social mobility