The articles give examples of three different types of educational institutions. The first one is a folk high school situated in the Sami territory. Another article recounts the pressures faced by Finnish adult education centres and their consequences for centres operating in rural areas. The third example is the AOF in the Spitzbergen. In addition, two articles describe the relationship between education and the labour force in Greenland and Iceland.
Spoken language has traditionally had a high status among the Setu people of Southeast Estonia, as another article points out. Adult education offered in the area has been planned with this in mind. The aim is to encourage people to preserve their traditions while also helping them to gain information and competencies needed in today’s world. A second article about the Sami people describes the importance of the immediate community and social networks in learning.
This issue of DialogWeb contains two articles about Åland. One of them is about a planned reform of the senior secondary school (gymnasieskola), in which a central component of adult education would be integrated into the senior secondary school system. The second article deals with a trade which has a long history in Åland: shipping. The article describes the increasing popularity of an advanced study programme in shipping offered in Åland.
The overall impression one gets from reading these articles is that general trends in society are reflected in the development adult education. Information technology and the Internet offer the Sami people and residents of rural areas a wider range of study opportunities – the local and the global meet on the Web. Modern technology, then, gives the individual student more choice. On the other hand, educational institutions in sparsely populated areas are struggling. Many of them have had to resort to merging with other institutions or finding new solutions in order to survive.
Mariehamn, 1st August 2006