The demand for unskilled labour is decreasing constantly, and soon there will be no jobs without competency requirements. This means that continuing training and lifelong learning are crucial. However, there are remote areas in the Nordic region where large numbers of people are not able to participate in traditional education which requires the student to be physically present.
Since 2007, the 7000 Sami people living in Finland have had the opportunity to participate in distance learning courses. The goal of the distance learning programme is to reach as many Sami as possible in this vast area.
In Sweden, the Nitus project is offering inhabitants in nearly 50 % of Swedish municipalities the chance to participate in distance learning with the help of digital technology and local adult education centres.
In Denmark, the specific labour market challenges of remote areas and possible solutions to them have inspired a fruitful co-operation in North Jutland. The co-operation, which takes place under the auspices of the Nordplus Adult programme, includes exchange of experiences and developmental work.
One of the challenges met by the apprenticeship training centre at Åland is how to tailor adult education to the students’ needs. Despite a flexible system, fitting together the numerous pieces of the puzzle can still be difficult.
In Norway, the immense area of the country makes it impossible to offer all citizens the same educational opportunities. There are large differences in education levels between country and city, and those differences are growing. In a serious effort to reverse this trend, Oppland county is offering flexible forms of education
In Iceland, the fishing industry has formed the backbone of the national economy, but educational opportunities for fishermen have always been limited. Now, an attempt to improve the situation is being made by offering fishermen an opportunity to participate in education while at sea.
On the Faroe Islands, no organised distance education for adults exists as yet. However, an increasing number of women are taking a Danish online course to obtain a qualification of kindergarten teacher. Most of them are choosing this option because they were not accepted into the corresponding Faroese education programme.
I hope you enjoy reading this DialogWeb, which sheds light on some of the reasons to why internet-based continuing education can be a success story.