How education can be a day-to-day struggle on the periphery
Skipper Clement Skolen is a fri grundskole in the centre of Aalborg, Denmark’s third largest city.
In 2005, under the direction of its forward-thinking school principal, Per Lyngberg-Andersen, the school decided to modernise and face a global future by taking on the development of an international school for Aalborg.
The international school had been initiated in 2001 by the local business community, council and region, and it was seen then as a necessary part of the infrastructure needed to encourage overseas investment in Denmark.
Success without sponsors
Skipper Clement Skolen has made a success of the international department, without the support of any major sponsors.
Since the original four classes in 2005, the department has grown to a full line of eleven classes in 2014 with over 750 students in the school, making it a strong viable business.
But there has been a cost. While successful in attracting students and maintaining a body of first-class teachers, both Danish and international, the school is now over-crowded and lacking in facilities and resources.
For the past ten years, attempts by the school to resolve these development problems have come up against the barriers of the need for high capital investment in new building schemes and the tediously slow procedures that must be followed to gain planning permission.
Worse still, the experience of being located in a small city on the periphery of Europe might lead one to believe that no investor is interested in any development outside Copenhagen.
Political will is lacking
It has made the school wonder what happened to all those EU initiatives to develop the peripheral European infrastructure, and whether there is any political interest in promoting regional Denmark?
For many families coming to work in the local hospital, university and high-tech businesses, the facilities at the only international school in Aalborg do not compare favourably to those available at other schools- not even in the so-called 'third world'.
Information about the Skipper Clement School can be found here: G.L Kærevej 28-30, Aalborg; tel: 9812 118 (08:00-15:00); skipper-clement-skolen.dk