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Official Country Name: Greenland
Region: North & Central America
Population: 56,309
Language(s): Greenlandic, Danish, English, Inuit
Literacy Rate: similar to Denmark proper

Greenland (Kalladliit Nunaat) is a very particular post-colonial country. Its size is like a continent, and it is completely covered by ice. There are approximately 60,000 inhabitants spread on the long coastline in small communities. The country is strongly influenced by the climate and geography; at the same time it has a rather modern society. Eighty percent of the inhabitants are Inuits (Eskimos; their origin is closely related to Canadian, Alaskan, and Siberian people, but they have their own Inuit mother tongue. The remaining twenty percent is mainly Danish, some settled, some temporarily working, since Greenland is not self-supplying in terms of the work force. The Inuit language is now the main official language, but all administration and public communication is bilingual. Greenland is under Danish sovereignty but has a local government, Gronlands Hjemmestyre, which, since the 1970s, has gradually taken control of all administration and public services except territorial defense and foreign policy. There has been a move towards increasing the degree of home rule to include international representation in matters of interest specific to Greenland. The local government receives a block grant from Denmark covering a substantial part of public expenditure.

The education system is regarded as a strategic tool to secure sustainability and a self-supplying labor market. It is similar to the Danish educational system but there have been strong efforts to "Greenlandize" it, in terms of staff, language, and adaptation to local circumstances. The instruction is mainly bilingual—but in many specialized domains Inuit speaking teachers are sparse and instruction materials only exist in Danish. There is a full general school system including upper secondary education in three locations as well as vocational education in main crafts. The school system is quite centralized in relation to the very widespread population. There is a teacher training college, a school for social work and pedagogy, marine schools of navigation and engineering, and also a small university offering language, cultural, and social studies on a basic university level, as well as specialized research with a local focus. However, advanced higher education and specialized professional education still relies on studies abroad, mainly in Denmark.

—Henning Salling Olesen

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