A meeting of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) was organized in Rovaniemi, Finland, on October 29, 2018.
A delegation from the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) took part in this meeting on behalf of the Northern Forum. The delegation was composed of Feodosia Gabysheva, Deputy of the State Assembly of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) (Il Tumen), Chairman of the Committee on Science, Education, Mass Media and Affairs of Public Organizations of the State Assembly of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) (Il Tumen), Mikhail Pogodaev, Executive Director of the Northern Forum Secretariat, Natalia Sitnikova, Director of Educational programs of the International Baccalaureate of the International Arctic School, Spartak Lekhanov, Head of the Project Office of the International Arctic School .
Feodosia Gabysheva presented a project, initiated by Sakha Republic and supported by the Northern Forum, title of the project is “Children of the Arctic: Access to quality general education and competences for living in the Arctic”.
Russian Federation public authorities and society pay constant attention to the issues of education and culture, including the creation of conditions for the preservation of linguistic and cultural diversity in preschool and school education.
The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) is one of the leaders in ensuring general education for indigenous people, and successfully implementing the UNESCO projects “Literacy of Indigenous Peoples Leading a Nomadic Life”, “Teachers of the Arctic”, “Preserving a Disappearing Yukaghir Language” and others. An interregional school partnership project “School of Life in the North” is being implemented in collaboration with the Northern Forum, and take the form of metasubject competitions, distance forums and conferences.
On September 2017 at the meeting of the Sustainable Development Working Group delegation of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) showed a presentation video on a brief vision of the International Arctic School. On October 29, 2018, the delegation presented an updated project, which was approved by the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and the Northern Forum.
During Finnish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the Russian Federation, Finland and Canada initiated a project “Arctic Children – Preschool Education and Smooth Transition to School”.
Note that project “Arctic Children – Preschool Education and Smooth Transition to School” was initiated by the Russian Federation’s Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs and Russian Association of Indigenous
Peoples of the North (RAIPON). The Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation also took part in the project developing. Project’s implementation has several stages.
The Sakha Republic in cooperation with the Northern Forum proposes to extend this project for a period of next Chairmanship, and to expand it to school and, in future, vocational education.
The title of the proposed project “Arctic Children – Preschool Education and Smooth Transition to School” carries important information about the objectives of the project.
In accordance with the priorities of the SDWG (the sustainable development of society refers to three major components of human existence: economical, ecological and human), this project aims to identify best practices in the system of secondary education, orienteering's on human development with the "Arctic competencies" for life.
Education for indigenous people with a traditional way of life, living in inaccessible and remote areas, requires constant attention. This is connected with the new challenges of globalization and with the economic development of subarctic territories, as well as with the introduction of new technological economic system, including the field of education.
The project aims to find answers to the following questions:
- What knowledge and competencies are necessary for life in the North, and what skills can be called “arctic skills”?
- Are the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples included in educational programs and how (in particular, in school curricula)?
- What are the opportunities for international interaction on this topic?
- How can new educational ICT technologies help to ensure the availability of quality education for people living in subarctic territories, including people with a traditional lifestyle?
Project goal: Creating an effective model of providing affordable high-quality general education for people living in subarctic territories, including people with a traditional lifestyle.
- Development of network cooperation and research to create new standards of general education in the Arctic, adapted to the needs of the inhabitants of the region, including indigenous people;
- Preservation and revival of the indigenous languages of the Arctic people, as well as the development of skills for effective communication of children through foreign languages and information and communication tools;
- Promoting the development of models of nomadic and other forms of education of indigenous peoples, leading the traditional way of life;
- Development of a universal educational program on global Arctic studies for secondary general education with a focus on the future development of the Arctic;
- Creation of the International Arctic School in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) as the coordinator of the project “Arctic Children – Preschool Education and Smooth Transition to School”.
At the first stage (2019-2020)
- identification of best practices and dissemination of experience with a series of international and interregional conferences;
- raising the professional teachers with a focus on “Arctic competencies” with an increasing number of teachers involved in the project;
At the second stage (2021-2022)
- improving the quality of education and socialization of school graduates;
- creation of a network of international schools in the countries participating in the project with international baccalaureate programs focused on the development of the Arctic indigenous people’s potential.
On 2019 the International Arctic School will be built in Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha Republic (Russian Federation).
The International Arctic School is ready to become a coordinating organization cooperating with the Russian Federation’s Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs.
The mission of the International Arctic School is to educate competitive, responsible citizens, who are able to learn throughout life, aimed at serving all people and developing the Arctic region on the basis of intercultural understanding and respect.
At the SDWG meeting most of the participating countries and permanent participants expressed support for the continuation of this project and an extension to school and vocational education.
The meeting participants expressed a common hope that together we will be able to develop the network of schools and create an innovative model of education, demanded by our countries and meeting the needs of our peoples.
In conclusion, Feodosia Gabysheva invited all who are interested to take part in the project, including those aimed at promoting the languages and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the world in accordance to the International Year of Indigenous Languages, announced by the United Nations.