From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of mainland Europe, about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It consists of a group of islands ranging from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude. The archipelago is the northernmost part of Norway.
Three islands are populated: Spitsbergen, Bear Island and Hopen.
The population is around 2000.
The largest settlement is Longyearbyen - the capital.
The Spitsbergen Treaty (1920) recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. The official language in Svalbard is Norwegian, though some areas do speak Russian.
The Spitsbergen Treaty established full Norwegian sovereignty over the archipelago; unlike the Norwegian Antarctic Territory, Svalbard is therefore part of the Kingdom of Norway, and not a dependency. The power has some limitations in taxation, environmental conservation, non-discrimination and certain military activity. Under the terms of the treaty, citizens of signatory states have rights to exploit mineral deposits and other natural resources "on a footing of absolute equality". As a result, a permanent Russian settlement, more or less autonomous, grew up at Barentsburg. Another Russian settlement at Pyramiden was abandoned by a Russian mining firm in January 1998.
Svalbard was made a part of Norway by the Svalbard Act of 1925. According to Per Sefland, the former Governor of Svalbard, the treaty implies that "if you're able to find a job, you have the right, according to the treaty, to come here". The treaty also states, "The nationals of all the high contracting parties [signatories] shall have equal liberty of access and entry for any reason or object whatever to the waters, fjords and ports of the territories." Therefore, some immigrants who have been denied residence in EU countries have relocated to Svalbard.
The issue of whether or not Svalbard is a country in the Re.ViCa sense or just a semi-autonomous part of Norway, is impossible to resolve to everyone's satisfaction. Our view is that in view of the international obligations and activities, including the Russian settlements, Svalbard is indeed a country in our sense.
Education in Svalbard
Higher Education in Svalbard
The University Centre in Svalbard, established in 1993, is the world’s northernmost higher education institution. Located in Longyearbyen at 78° N, the university offers undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses to approximately 350 students each year in Arctic sciences. It forms part of the University of the Arctic. For more details see http://www.unis.no/