ESIN

European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Education

Islandology

“No man is an island” — but what is an island? And why might you set a poem, a novel, a philosophical utopia there?

Marc Shell explores the geography, rhetoric, and politics of islands, from the mythical Atlantis to contemporary environmental disasters.

“Islandology” offers not only new ways to think about islands, but also why and how we think by means of them.

MARC SHELL is the Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, where he also serves as Faculty Associate at the Center for the Environment. He is the author of a dozen books, on topics ranging from nationalism and economics to multilingualism and disability studies.

Co-sponsored by: English, Environmental Studies & Sciences, Latin American and Latinx Studies Program, Modern Languages and Literatures, Political Economy, the Project for the Study of Liberal Democracy, and Phi Beta Kappa.

https://www.facebook.com/Rhodes-College-Department-of-English-42766169761/

Islandology

A place to Bere in mind

Bere island lies in Bantry Bay, in the shadow of the famous Hungry Hill though with a high point of 267m at Knockallig is no mere pancake itself.

Bere Island is the second largest Irish island when islands connected by causeways or bridges are discounted. It is outranked only by Inishmore. In terms of population it is also the second ranked according to the same criterion with 216 people (2011 census). In common with other large islands it was once inhabited by over 1,000 people and peaked in 1926 with 1,182.

Bere island school-2

Islanders and best friends, Michael Orpen and Aoife Walsh, Bere Island, West Cork, running to rehearsals in the local heritage centre for their annual Nativity School Play. Michael played the part of Joseph and Aoife played the part of Mary in this year’s schools production on the Island
Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan

And where many islands have dwindling populations with few activities, the phenomenal community spirit of Bere Island binds the island together as well as bringing in many visitors for these events. The list of activities upcoming for 2018 would put many large towns to shame. Some of the events planned include a religious retreat at Easter, an islands’ festival in June, Children’s summer camp in July, A Heritage Week in August and the All-Island football tournament in September. With hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, bars, cafes, restaurants and its Bakehouse Cafe with its sizzling garlic prawns, the over-riding impression of Bere Island is of a thriving
island community.

Scoil Mhicil Naofa is the school on Bere Island, which in the early 1900s, once had a total of three schools. It is the ’last school standing’ in Bantry Bay’s islands with two teachers and 18 pupils.

West Cork’s islands are taking a population battering, with Sherkin Island’s school closing, after 124 years’ service to the community, in 2016. Whiddy and Dursey also had their own schools. The school on Whiddy Island closed in 1947 with seven children on the roll, and the Dursey Island school was forced to close in 1975 when there were just five pupils left.

Principal of Deirdre Ní Dhonnchada explains how, as with all small rural schools, maintaining numbers is a constant issue: ‘This year five pupils will be leaving to start secondary school in Castletownbere and we have only three children due to start school.  We currently don’t have anyone in second class, as there was no intake that year,’ she said.

Principal Ní Dhonnchada and Katrina Ladden both live on the mainland and travel onto the island every day by ferry.  Support teacher Caoimhe Healy joins them two days a week.  Katrina teaches junior infants to second class, and Deirdre teaches third to sixth classes, with school secretary Marion O’Sullivan keeping everything running smoothly.

Bere island school-1

Sonia O’Sullivan with Bere Island national school                       Photo Niall Duffy @WestCorkPhoto

Physical activity is a big part the curriculum. Deirdre Ní Dhonnchada says: ‘We were actually one of the first schools in Beara to start weekly swimming lessons.’

Once a week, the children travel to the Westlodge Hotel in Bantry for their lesson. ‘Being on an island just means it takes a bit of extra planning. Whereas a mainland school needs to organise a bus to Bantry, we need to organise a boat to get us to the bus!’

Deirdre Ní Dhonnchada feels that ultimatley teaching in an island school doesn’t pose any major challenges. ‘It all takes a little bit more planning, but the very nature of an island community means that people always rally round to help out. The school is very much part of the community here, and we know anytime we need any assistance in arranging something, we only have to put the word out, and it happens.’

See earlier blogs https://europeansmallislands.com/2016/12/04/small-island-schools-perform-well/ (Norway) and https://europeansmallislands.com/2016/09/01/primary-schools-study/ (Clare Island and Sweden).

Many thanks to the Southern Star and the Irish Examiner:

http://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2018/02/10/4151623-bere-island-school-is-last-one-standing-on-bantry-bays-islands/

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/lifestyle/the-islands-of-ireland-a-place-to-bere-in-mind-825219.html

No plastic bags for Christmas, please!

DAFNI

From Tilos to Samothrace and from Alonnisos to Lipsi islands, 49 schools across the Aegean Sea took part in a campaign organised by DAFNI – the Network of Sustainable Greek Islands, in collaboration with the Hellenic Recycling Agency.

It was part of the European Week for Waste Reduction and engaged 1708 students from 28 Greek islands. Teachers together with municipality representatives handed out ecological cloth bags to students, highlighting the importance of re-use for waste reduction – plastic in particular. During the action, participants delivered presentations and discussed the need for product re-use and repair, which will help islands transition into a circular economy path.

This is a particularly important for island regions, where the intense seasonal demand for services takes a heavy toll on both infrastructures and resources, making sustainable resource and waste management an imperative for sustainable local development.

Adding Greek islands on the EWWR map of areas that are frontrunners in waste reduction and responsible resource use is meant to also underscore the potential of islands to emerge as test-beds that can host pilot projects and produce knowledge on smart and efficient resource and infrastructure management, tapping the synergies between energy, transport, water and waste.

Thank you DAFNI and let’s hope for an un-wasted, happy new 2018!

Plastic on quai

Precious Island Journals

Two-jurnals

Just in time for Christmas, two island journals landed in our postbox: Finnish Skärgård which is celebrating its 40th year, and issue no 170 of Danish Ø-Posten.

Aberdeen

Skärgård is a bit more international this time. It has an article  by John Wrede, Micaela Jansson and Pia Prost on ESINs meeting on Orkney, entitled “The island where 130,000 sheep have their backs in the same direction” and features a photo of the inlet of Aberdeen. There is an article written by Dorthe Winter, chairman of the Danish small islands titled “Can you grow old on you island?”. She is raising the important question of equal island and mainland social services and describes how the issue is being handled, right now, in Denmark.

Pia Prost, ESINs most talented island portraiter, has written a both technical and poetical article describing Karlö island, situated far north in the Baltic Sea.

Sjökort

Karlö

Ø-Posten has a portrait of a family with thee kids moving to Egholm island on the cover.

Ø-Posten-170

There is information on Local Action Group work and financing 2017, a short report from each and everyone of the 28 small islands in Denmark (small meaning not a municipality) and on a visit to Anholt island made by some of the boardmembers in October. Anholt is one of the most remote small islands, situated out in Kattegatt. It boasts a yearly cultural festival called Lantgude.com (faraway.com).

Anholt

Lantgude

Without island journals like these and without the people who write, design and publish them, island knowledge would be poor. They describe modern island life, people and politics, ferries and festivals, conflicts and culture. They are precious to us all and I invite everybody to get a subscription, eh well maybe not if you don’t speak Danish or Swedish…

This said, the ESIN Board wishes all islanders of Europe a Merry Christmas and a Sustainable New Year with lots of hopes, happiness and love.

Skärgård magazine no 160

Ledare 1-2

Every European island flaunts its assets in glossy magazines, typically written by journalists and photographers spending a week or two in the island’s holiday landscape. Luckily, there is also another kind of island magazines, written by the islanders themselves, sometimes with the help of researchers, dealing with the island culture, history, lifestyle, infrastructure and politics. Such magazines were briefly described here in July 2016.

One of these is the superb magazine Skärgård (= Archipelago), which has just published its 160th (!) issue, with Pia Prost as editor.

The issue starts with a clever editorial by Pia Prost entitled “Mankind is not an island” and continues with articles on sustainability, biogas, fishing, hybrid ferry Elektra, recent disputations, island loos and a very interesting article entitled “Meeting the challenges of Europe’s small islands” by Camille Dressler. We had no idea Camille masters the Swedish language so well (maybe she had some help from Pia?). She gives examples from her own island Eigg, stressing the importance of sharing island stories with happy endings.

Another article is on Simskäla, which was ESIN’s runner-up for the EUSEW 2017 award: “On Simskäla, from different angles” for example “top down or bottom up”, “on or in an island”, “seen from here and seen from there”. Simskäla did not win the EUSEW prize this year (Tilos did, well deserved!) but the Energy Globe Foundation in Austria is urging us to apply for Simskäla to run for their 2018 Energy Globe Award.

Get your own copy here: https://www.cll.fi/projekt/skargard/tidskriften-skargard/.

Dressler

Simskäla-artikel

Small island schools perform well

karl-jan-solstad-x4

Karl Jan Solstad

Last week, the Nordic Council archipelago cooperation arranged a seminar on the topic of small island schools. One of the speakers was Norwegian professor emeritus Karl Jan Solstad, who presented his research from Vågan, a municipality among the Lofoten islands in Nordland Region, northern Norway.

nordland-norge
Map of Nordland Region in Norway with its municipalities, Vågan is no 40, marked in yellow

Norwegian municipalities are eventually closing small schools and transporting pupils by bus to larger schools. The tendency is that the size of schools closed down is getting bigger, and relatively, more of these schools are situated further away from the new school to which the pupils are transferred.Providing a better education is the reason given by politicians, in spite of strong local mobilization against closure.

Vågan has some 9,000 residents and nine schools in grades 1-10 with 1,063 pupils 2015-16. Two schools are large (having many pupils): Kabelvåg (327) and Svolvaer (544). The remaining seven are considered small: Digermulen (19), Gimsøy (18), Hennningsvaer (52), Laukvik (45), Laupstad (20), Skrova (13), Sydal (26).

Professor Solstad shows the feelings about and arguments for and against small schools of headmasters and teachers, parents and pupils. Most astonishing, he shows that the results of pupils in small schools are better than in large schools.

tabell-4-vagan

Results from National  8th grade, 2014-15 and 2015-16, Reading, Mats and English, All of Vågan, the two large schools (Svovaer and Kabelvåg) and the “small schools, arithmetic average and number of pupils.

The report from Vågan can be found here http://nordlandsforskning.no/getfile.php/1311215/Dokumenter/Rapporter/2016/NF%203_2016_84s%20%283%29.pdf and his presentation from last weeks lecture is streamed here https://join-emea.broadcast.skype.com/uudenmaanliitto.fi/4e05f9ab-1d64-4a5f-be5f-2046683a261c/sv-SE/ (it starts at 1:44).

Professor Solstad’s presentation was mindblowing but there were other, most interesting presentations including distance learning in the Åland Islands (presented by Kaj Törnroos) (42:00), “Understanding the big in the small” by Gunilla Karlberg-Granlund (1:25) and Lena Möllersten’s work as a networking headmaster of small schools in the Stockholm archipelago.

kaj-tornroos-x2

Kaj Törnroos

gunilla-granlund-karlberg

Gunilla Karlberg-Granlund

lena-mollersten

Lena Möllersten