Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Study Lab Vágur
The trip started out on board M/F Smyril where we had the first meeting. In Suðuroy we were presented to the Study Lab Vágur by the Mayor Dennis Holm. He talked about how social research has shown that people are slowly moving from the small villages in the countryside and about the history and circumstances of the study lab. It was very interesting for the partners because they all either are located in small villages or wish to offer education in the smaller populated areas. In the three years the study lab has existed they have had contact to 800 people. Right now there are 10-15 students whereof we met and spoke with 7. All were young women. They told us about how important it was for them to have this possibility to learn in the town where they wish to live. They told us that if they did not have the possibility to learn this way, they would not go to school because of the cost to go to Tórshavn and live there. Normally the students in the Faroe Islands don’t have to pay for their education. Employers and the government pay for the education. So if you think about it all of the people in Faroe Islands could get a degree, but this just shows us that it is not always the cost of the education that is the determining factor.
It was interesting that the participants of the Suðuroy study lab were very young. It was expected that the average age was a lot higher, but it is positive that the young people took the opportunity and used it. They have opened a relatively new study lab which offers education from Nordic universities. They even offer guidance, help with applications and took some costs associated with travel. Dennis Holm told us about their idea of getting people to attend school in their hometown. Trying to get people to stay and get a degree in Vágur instead of moving to Tórshavn to live and study. Dennis told us that the village had crowd-funded a bathhouse-project, which we also had the chance to visit. The people of Vágur have been on common ground to build up their town and work together in many community projects.
Glasir in Tórshavn
In Tórshavn we got to see the new building for the university. It is an impressive investment in the new school. It has been a priority to provide a creative environment and it is clear that is makes the studies more attractive. At this new flagship for the Faroe Islands, students from colleges in three municipalities and tertiary students will share halls. In Torshavn they are combining the universities. The idea is that people can learn online by attending school in Aarhus but still stay in the Faroe Islands. Some of these courses are offered part-time since some of the students work full-time along-side. It was interesting to see and hear about their school system and how they are building strong net for people that are interesting to learn and use the internet.