National Geographic : 1975 Sep
Getting on top of the problem, Flemming Jensen has his pupils in Ikerasak mount their desks (above) to teach them the Danish word for "upon." Danes comprise almost three-fourths of the teaching corps on the island, yet few of them speak Greenlandic, a lan guage so difficult that those not born and bred to it seldom attain fluency. With unusual perseverance, Jensen acquired a working knowledge of the language. Danish officials have now initiated a program to give prospective teachers at least some familiarity with Greenlandic. Children such as the patch-protected scholar (left) must still learn Danish before their education in Western ways can even begin, a linguistic hurdle that only the brightest surmount. Though hundreds of Greenlanders have com pleted college-level teacher training, few have earned academic degrees from Danish universities. Of those who have enrolled directly from Greenland high schools, none has graduated.