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We will take a look at some of the international work for adult education and how it might influence adult education for Samis.
The UNESCO conference in Hamburg 1997, "Lifelong learning - the key to the 21st century", made important decisions both concerning adult education in general and indigenous people in special. The conference stressed the right of indigenous people to get adult education based on their own language and culture. At this conference there was a big Norwegian delegation, lead by the Ministry of Education. The delegation wrote a long report from the conference. Here is hardly mentioned that there was a discussion about indigenous peoples. But there is no sign that they see any consequences of this conference for the adult education for Samis in Norway. Neither in the activity of the Ministry after the conference there is any sign that they have seen any such consequences. There were no Sami representatives at the conference.
Norway ratified in 1990 the ILO Convention no.169 on indigenous and tribal people. In this convention there are several articles (22, 27, 28, 30) of importance for adult education for Samis. Unfortunately there is some distance between theory and practice, and there is a question if this convention have been considered at all by the central and regional organs which make decisions about adult education.
ILO in 1974 made a convention on paid leave of absence for education. Already one year later both employers and employees organizations proposed that Norway should ratify the convention. But in 1999 this has still not been done.
The main study associations in the Nordic countries (NGOs) are members of ICAE - International Council for Adult Education through the European department, EAEA. A Sami representative took part in the ICAE-conference in Paris 1982, when there was a meeting about adult education for indigenous peoples. This representative wrote a report to NSI. , where it is told that AESIP - Adult Education in Support of Indigenous Peoples at that time was a new field of work for ICAE. We have searched for information from ICEA about what has happened later, but so far they have not answered.
OECD has made a lot of surveys where education in selected member states are compared. Among surveys on adult education one is covering Norway, another Sweden. But in none of these indigenous people or other minorities are mentioned.
Sweden and Finland are members of the EU, while Norway in many ways is connected to EU through EEA . The educational politics of the EU will therefore also influence the Samis. 1996 was by the EU stated as the "European year of lifelong learning", and Norway took part in this through the EEA. The Ministry of Education has prepared a report from this year. There is no mention of any provision with a Sami profile.
Several programmes of adult education in Sweden and Finland have been partly
financed through the EU. These sums are channeled through the so called Target
6 - fund and Interreg programmes. The Sami Parliaments have got some influence
on use of money for Sami programmes.
The Interreg programmes also cover parts of Norway and Russia, including most of the Sami area. Among the programmes which have got EU support may be mentioned:
- Further education in Sami handicraft and reindeer husbandry (Sami Education Centre)
- Media education (Sveriges radio)
- Training of reindeer herders in the use of horses (Länsstyrelsen i Jämtlands län)
- Sami language reading and writing.(Alfa project)
- Theory og methodology in Sami handicrafts (Sámi Duodji, Jokkmokk)
- Sámásta - Elementary Lule Sami language (Sami Education Centre / Árran)
- Sami film education (SAFI OY)
Some of these programmes are described later.
It is an open question if the EU provides new money for Sami education, or only introduces a more complicated way of funding.
Nordic Popular Academy (Nordens folkliga akademi) in Göteborg, Sweden, is an institution under Nordic Council of Ministers and has existed since 1968. The academy presents itself as "a Nordic institution of further education and a development centre of popular education and adult education". In the last few years they have emphasized cooperation with countries around the Baltic Sea. It would seem natural, being the only common Nordic institution of adult education, that emphasise would be made on provisions for the only people living in three of the Nordic countries. But so far there have been no signs of any provisions for the Sami population.
NORD, The Adult Education Centre of Nordkalotten in Övertorneå in Sweden is a Nordic institution own by the northernmost counties of Sweden, Finland and Norway. It has students and teachers from all three countries, traditionally also including many Samis. However they have no education in Sami language nor Sami topics.
The Sami Institute is an institution under the Nordic Council of Ministers, but is here described under All-Sami organs, chapter 3.1.2.
The educational system in Norway consists in general of three levels:
Kind of school Age / Duration Governed by
Primary school 10 years (6-16) Municipality
(Upper) secondary education 3 years school or 2 years school + 2 years apprentice County
Higher education (University and college) over 18 years State
Less than 5% of the pupils attend private schools, both on the primary and
the secondary level.
On the secondary level there is only one kind of school, having 13 programmes for the first year, and around 60 programmes for the second year. In general the general education is 3 years in school, while the vocational education is 2 years in school followed by 2 years as an apprentice. However this has been difficult to put through because of lack of workplaces for apprentices.
From the 1970-s vocational education has been changed, from giving a finished education for life to give a broader basic education, to learn to learn and be able to readjust to other professions later. This may have advantages for pupils who have not been to work. But when also adult education are based on the broad curriculum of secondary education, it means that those who already are in a situation of readjustment for a new profession, also have to use a lot of energy on a general education which they do not always see any use of in the profession they are readjusting to. Especially for those who have a weak primary education, this can contribute to make new loosers in adult education.
In the yearly statistics of education published by the Central Bureau of Statistics it is explained this way: "Norwegian adult education is complex and versatile. To a small extent separate institutions for adult education has been established. Responsibility rests partly with the public educational institutions (primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities) and partly with the freestanding / private institutions / organizations (study associations, folk high schools and institutions for distance learning). Working places also take part in adult education, both in cooperation with various educational institutions and by internal programmes within the companies."
Adult education has much shorter traditions as a part of the public educational system than any of the main school levels; primary, secondary and higher education. In Norway it was not until the beginning of the 1960s that one started thinking in the perspective of "life-long learning". In Parliamentary Bill 92-64/65 this is explained like this: "Up to quite a few years ago it was a quite common opinion that the professional education a man or a woman had obtained at young age, would be enough for the whole life. This opinion no longer fit the conditions of today."
The Norwegian Adult Education Act (1976) defines the following forms of adult
education under this law:
1. Study work in study associations entitled to state financial support.
2. Alternative facilities of first time educations for adults.
3. Continued education and shorter courses, not being part of first time education by higher educational institutions.
4. Labour market education
5. Education in or connected to work place.
6. Other educational provisions for adults, based on special evaluation in each case.
7. Remote education by independent institutions entitled to state financial support
In addition it is stated that there exist other types of adult education
which is not under this law: "For primary and secondary education especially
organized for adults the Act on Primary School and Secondary Education applies."
During the 1970s further and continued education and part-time education became more common. In 1985 came a report on "documentation of knowledge and skills" , showing adults needs of documenting their knowledge connected to entrance to secondary and higher education, higher education exams, formal competence for certain jobs and shortening of time for studies and apprenticeship. The report on lifelong learning, published 1986 , showed that Norway had a lower priority for adult education than the other Nordic countries. During the 1980s the amount of adult education was reduced. Suggestions were now made of higher priority and provisions which will make it easier for adults to get education. It seems like much of this has not come true, as many of the same suggestions come back in the report in 1997 , which starts the "Competence reform", the last of the great reforms changing the Norwegian educational system in the 1990s.
Among the proposals of 1997 was that adults right to secondary education
should be statutory. But this did not get a majority in Parliament when the
reform was put to the vote in January 1999. Some provisions to improve the
economical situation for adult students have been proposed. But many of these
depend on negotiations between employers organization and trade unions,
and these negotiations have so far given poor results. Among other suggestions
· Development of a system for documentation of real competence.
· Right to leave of absence from work for study should be established by law. This will only be a right to unpaid leave, and the rules should be negotiated between the of employers and the trade unions.
· Companies may get financial support for internal programmes for development of competence.
· Development programmes for use of information technology in distance learning programs.
The reform is planned to be carried out with quite small expences for the Norwegian Government. The Government and the Parliament want to place most of the expences with the organizations of employees and employers, and to the students in the form of extending the rights of colleges and universities to demand payment from students. As the financing is not secured, it is neither clear how fast and to what extent the reform will be accomplished.
The reform of continued and further education will make adult education an interesting market for investors and some foretell that here will be a marked of up to 40-50 milliards NOK. The private educational institutions are mainly in the cities. There are no signs that Sami education will be considered as an interesting market.
In the year in which the Act on Adult Education was passed, i.e.1976, the Norwegian Institute of Adult Learning Research (Norsk voksenpedagogisk forskningsinstitutt) was established in Trondheim. This is a government institute reporting to the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs. The Institute has done nothing in particular for adult education of Sami people.
The main participators in adult education in Norway are:
- The national education administration, i.e. the Ministry of Education and its education offices located in the counties and the Sami Education Council
- The Labour Market Administration
- study associations
- private schools
The concept "voksenopplæring" (adult education) has in Norway mainly been used for education on the primary and secondary school level, and for courses which do not give any formal competence. Within higher education it has mainly been used the term "etter- og videreutdanning" (continued and further education). In this report I will include "etter- og videreutdanning" in the concept "voksenopplæring". Anyhow it will be difficult to delimit the subject. As this seems to have influenced the answers I have received, it will necessarily also influence this report. This makes it very difficult to quantify the occurence of adult education in Norway, not to say adult education for Samis.
Main characteristics of the Swedish school system:
Kind of school Age / Duration Governed by
Primary school 9 years (7-16) Municipality
(Upper) secondary education 3 years school Municipality
Higher education (University and college) over 18 years State / county
All secondary education is centreed within one type of school, where the pupils choose among 16 different 3-year programs. A system of apprenticeships no longer exist in Sweden. The educational system in Sweden is mainly public. Private schools represent a small part of the total number of pupils, in primary and secondary schools less than 5%.
The principal suppliers of adult education in Sweden are: municipalities, counties (län), folk high schools, study associations, AMU (vocational training for unemployed), the state schools for adults, and private institutions. The Swedish Act on Education contains regulations for adult education. The municipal adult education "Komvux" plays an important role. It encompasses basic, secondary and supplementary education.
Neither the Act on Education nor the regulations make any particular mention of Sami. Sami language is not among the subjects selected for basic adult education. In contrast, the Act and the regulations do give directions on education in other languages than Swedish, but this appears to be more related to immigrants than to Sami people.
During the period 1997 - 2002 Sweden will implement a 5-year programme for the furthering of adult education, "Kunskapslyftet" (The knowledge jump). The target group of this effort is primarily unemployed partly or wholly without 3-year secondary school competence, but others with a low level of education may also participate. Kunskapslyftet is a cooperation between most of the organizations for adult education: Komvux, county councils, the state schools for adults, the folk high schools, the Committé for Qualified Vocational Training, the study associations and AMU. In the spring of 1998 the municipalities have trained 190000 pupils. Among the participants around two-thirds are women.
Main characteristics of the educational system in Finland:
Kind of School Age / Duration Governed by
Primary school 9 years (7-16) Municipality
Secondary education 16-18
Gymnasium 3 years school Municipality (state, private)
Vocational school 2-3 years school Municipality (state, private)
Apprentice 3-4 years work
Higher education (University and vocational college) over 18 years State
Finland has thus two quite independent types of education at secondary school level. In addition there is an apprentice scheme education. The apprentice scheme accounts for a rather low percentage of the overall education, and the state has therefore set a target to increase this percentage in the future. The state is now in the process of withdrawing from the secondary school system and allowing the municipalities to take over more of the responsibilities for secondary education. Approximately 25% of vocational education and training is done by private schools.
A reform in the Finnish school system is expected in the year 2001:
- all secondary school education will be of three years duration
- all curriculums are to be revised
- practical subjects/courses will have placements of 20 weeks duration in the practice/practical areas (company, plant, factory, hospital etc).
In 1978 the Finnish government passed a directive concerning adult education. Since then the principal of «lifelong learning» has been a corner stone in Finnish educational policy.
In 1996 the government convened a committee to develop a national strategy for lifelong education. Adult education is, to quite a large degree, based on the secondary school curriculum. Finland is offering adult education within about 1000 of its educational establishments.
Apprenticeship training leads to the same vocational exam (vocational certificate) or qualification as the education at the vocational training schools. Apprenticeship training is for both teenagers and adults alike and can give admission to further studies. The number of apprentices in 1995 was 13000, the majority of these were adults.
From 1994 it has been possible for adults to take the certificate of apprenticeship, / vocational/professional examination on the basis of practical experience. At the same time a nation-wide quality control system was introduced covering all vocational education and training for adults. Three type of apprenticeship/vocational exams are currently in use; elementary exam, vocational exam and specialist exam. The examinations are based upon the national curriculum which are laid down by the educational board. Adults can take the exam (privately), at all three grades, independent of previous education. In the same way national language tests are arranged so that adults can document their language abilities.
The educational board (Opetushallitus) edits a catalogue, in both Finnish and Swedish, called «Development for Adults» This contains an outline of all adult education courses and course providers.
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