4B) Key success factors for sustainable educational projects in rural areas

Alastair Creelman - Linnaeus University, Sweden

A key factor for the development of rural communities is access to education. Over the last 30 years there have been many ambitious educational projects promoting distance education as a catalyst for the development of the region, its labour market and the wellbeing of the population.

Many projects became integrated into the municipality’s strategic development in the form of learning centres, whereas others disappeared after the project funding ended. What are the key success factors for sustainable educational projects and what should decision makers in local authorities consider when launching new educational initiatives to ensure mainstream uptake?

This workshop, as part of an ongoing Nordplus project “Presence at a distance” (PAAD), will present concrete examples of successful Nordic projects supporting adult, flexible learning in rural areas. The project intends to follow up an earlier Nordplus project from 2012-2013 that examined a number of educational initiatives for supporting development in sparsely populated areas. That project highlighted several external factors which, in addition to directly educational ones, should exist to ensure a sustainable success. The report developed in the project has been an important tool for a large number of stakeholders after it was published. The present project will revisit these initiatives as well as other similar projects to look at the long-term success factors and how education contributes to rural development in general.

The target group for this workshop are all interested in flexible lifelong learning in rural areas, and participants will be invited to share similar project experiences from other regions.

Workshop format:

  • Introductions and input from the PAAD project. This will include examples of good practice and key success factors (30 minutes)

  • Group discussion: long-term success factors, good examples from participants’ experience, opportunities and barriers (40 minutes)

  • Summary of group discussions and conclusions (20 minutes)

All the findings, notes, slideshows and links from the workshop will be publicly available on a collaborative work space.

Alastair Creelman (Linnaeus University, Sweden), Carola Eklund (Government of Aland), Torhild Slaatto (Flexible Education Norway), Deirdre Hansen (University of Faroe Islands and Distant Learning Centre Fjarnám), Hróbjartur Árnason (University of Iceland, School of Education, Iceland), Jørgen Grubbe, Monnet Gruppen, Denmark, Taru Kekkonen (Omnia, Finland), Kaaka Lund (Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq, Greenland) 

Chair: Alastair Creelman 13th February 2019 9:00 - 10:30 Location: Lillehammersal II