If you think that average annual temperatures of 40 degrees below zero, splendid polar bears, deserts of ice and nights and days that last six months could stop the inhabitants of the North Pole from having the right level of education, you’d be wrong.
Even in the Arctic Circle, in fact, schools exist and function so well that every year they turn out swathes of highly qualified professionals, whose main task is to study the Nordic ecosystem and design solutions for its survival.
Why is there such a high level of specialisation in one of the places least suited to man on our planet? The Norwegians, like all other people, love their roots and do not want to see glaciers, pine forests and their inhabitants disappear.
Norwegian culture and school education
Norwegian culture has always considered school education to be the first step for embarking on a correct process of civic education that allows children to grow and learn from their early age how to respect their peers and the entire environment.
Compulsory schooling in Norway lasts ten years, from 6 to 16 years of age, and is based on the principle of a unified school system that, through a well-organised programme, guarantees an education that is socially fair and suited to all children.
Public education is entirely free from junior school to high school, a factor that determines the low presence of private institutions, chosen by 1.2% of the population mainly for religious reasons.
The role of research in Norway
If junior, middle and junior high schools work perfectly, research in Norway is jewel in the crown of a school system that is one of the most successful in the world: this country, in fact, considers university studies and research of priority importance for economic, political and social growth.
To support the high level of education necessary for the development of businesses and activities in every production sector, Norway dedicates over 1.7% of the GNP to activities of research and development that enjoy the respect of international authorities.
Scientific analysis on the Arctic region, studies aimed at safeguarding flora and fauna and research conducted on renewable energies attract students and professionals from every corner of the globe.
From 2015 Norwegian research centres have given almost 40% of doctorates to foreign candidates, and numbers, which are growing significantly, show how a specialisation in the North Pole is entirely possible.
UNIS, Svalbard University, situated in Longyearbyen, on the archipelago of the Svalbard Islands in Norway, at 78° north latitude, right along the Arctic Circle, is the coldest and northernmost university in the world.
Svalbard University, a centre of excellence founded in 1993, with strong support from all the main Norwegian central governmental bodies, offers four different courses in scientific disciplines that include biology, geology, geophysics and arctic technology free of charge.