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Learning by distance in Greenland

Oak Foundation Denmark / Partner story

Photo: © Ralph Rozema /

With approximately 10,000 school students among 56,000 inhabitants, Greenland has been facing a shortage of teachers in many parts of the country for years now. Kivitsisa, which means “let’s lift” in Greenlandic, is a new initiative to raise the level of education of Greenland’s primary schools by using technology.

In other words, Kivitsisa is giving education in Greenland the lift it deserves.  

By providing teachers and students with iPads and access to the internet, schools across the country are able to receive targeted support and competency development from teachers who are hundreds – or even thousands – of miles away.

For example, in the village of Napasoq, an island settlement in the Qeqqata municipality in central-western Greenland, the school has partnered with an organisation called the Granny Cloud, which links it to skilled English teachers. Using the Granny Cloud, students in Napasoq are taught English on their iPads by a teacher living in Hong Kong.

“Watching the development of the children, I can see that the initiative has improved their pronunciation of the English words. When the English-speaking teacher speaks to the children, they are forced to respond in English, which greatly improves their English capabilities,” said Magdalene Kristiansen, teacher in the school of Napasoq.

Schools throughout the country have discovered that using technology to facilitate learning is not a second-best solution but one which many students and teachers prefer. “I really like when the teacher speaks English to us, and I also try to speak English as good as I can,” said Elma, student in the School of Napasoq.

As well as English classes, the Granny Cloud also offers the chance to learn about other subjects, such as wood carving, for instance. Higher education levels are known to improve health and reduce rates of poverty and suicide. Through Kivitsisa, this is the first time that all of the municipalities in Greenland have come together to steer public education towards a better path. While implementation of this programme is still ongoing, it will continue until every primary school in Greenland is included.

This grant falls within Oak’s Denmark Programme, through which we provide support to organisations that provide innovative solutions to improve the lives of the socially vulnerable and marginalised groups at the community level.

Read more about Oak Foundation Denmark here.

Watch the video about Kivitsisa here.