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Falkland Islands

BASIC DATA
Official Country Name: Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Region: South America
Population: 2,826
Language(s): English
Literacy Rate: NA

The Falkland Islands (also known as Malvinas) are a United Kingdom’s Overseas Territory that the British have continuously controlled since 1833. Largely a ruralagricultural economy produced an urban-rural dichotomy in the provision of education. Isolated rural areas compared to the capital, Stanley, made it difficult to recruit and retain teachers. In addition, costs were high in making opportunities for rural pupils comparable with those in Stanley, especially in the transportation of travelling teachers, the maintenance of sufficient itinerant staff to ensure visits to pupils at educationally desirable intervals, and the subsidy of the hostel in the capital.

Historically, low expectations on the part of pupils and parents in the rural areas, and a continuous outflow of pastoral revenues, have contributed to this dichotomy. The provision of universal suffrage in 1948 prompted increases in public funding and private contributions. The Falkland Islands Government provides staff, equipment, and supplies throughout the islands. Education is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 16. The school year in Stanley, which begins in mid-January, is divided into three terms. Elsewhere, it varies due to local requirements. The English language, English methods, and English examination systems are standard.

The primary school, Stanley/Junior School, caters to preschool youth to 10-year-olds. It was built in 1955 with modern additions made in 1990, 1996, and 2001. Each classroom has two multi-media computers and printers, and some are equipped with TV and video facilities. Additionally, there is a well-stocked library and spacious hall used for physical education, music, drama, and other activities.

In 1992 Stanley opened its secondary school, the Falkland Islands Community School, which caters to the 11- through 16-year-olds, as well as providing an educational and recreational resource for the whole community. It offers 16 subjects at the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level. In addition to general classrooms, there are two science laboratories, a music room, and rooms for art, information technology, business studies, design technology, home economics, and needle craft. Students receiving a grade of "C" or better are funded for A Level/GNVQ courses at Peter Symonds' Sixth Forum College or at alternate schools. There is funding, too, for vocational and higher education courses in Britain.

In the rural areas, known as Camp, younger children live in isolated settlements or on farms. Since the 1970s, parental attitudes have been favorable for more formal education. The majority of the children are taught by a combination of travelling teacher and radio/telephone lessons. A few are taught in the three settlement schools at Fox Bay, Port Howard, and North Arm. A team of six travelling teachers visit the more isolated pupils for two out of every six weeks; they work closely with the radio/telephone teachers provided by the Stanley based Camp Education Unit.

The changing parental attitudes of the older Camp children, between the ages of 10 and 16, have favored attendance at more distant schools. The children then live in a boarding hostel.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

"Education: Information for Teaching Staff and Other Interested Persons." Falkland Islands Government, 2000. Available from http://www.falklands.gov.fk/education.htm.

Falkland Islands Government, Education Department. "Stanley Infant/Junior School," 2000. Available from http://www.falklands.gov.fk/ed1.htm.

Smith, David B. "Scale, Isolation and Dependency in the Educational System in the Educational System of the Falkland Islands." Educational Review 43 (1991): 335-342.

——. "Schooling in the Falkland Islands." Ph.D. diss., University of Hull, 1988.


—Bill T. Manikas

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