The dropout

Anders Kalliainen is a so-called school dropout, but he still demands recognition for the kind of knowledge he possesses.

School could never stimulate his interest in engines and technical stuff. His entrepreneurial spirit has, however, found its outlet and given him many chances in life.

Anders lives in Kirkenes. After dropping out of school he had several different jobs in technical professions. He then started working as a process operator in the iron ore mine Sydvaranger Gruve AS in Kirkenes. When the mine closed down, he started his own company, fixing all kinds of technical stuff for people.

– If you’re not into school, ski and soccer, you are labeled as an outsider, says Anders. He got bored at school, and a new school reform demanded more than he was willing to offer. Subjects he had lost out on had to be redone the following year, and there were many subjects that did not stimulate him.

Young men who drop out of school are defined as a problem in Norway. Still Anders refuses to take on any negative stereotype as a looser. He has been working on engines and cars since he was a kid, and this passion has given him solid knowledge. He simply claims there must be more ways to recognition than following the setup of the Norwegian school system.

With a passion for engines, he rather wanted to apply his knowledge on practical work. And earn money so he can buy just the car, motorbike and snowmobile that he wants. He sees the motorsport ambient as a good platform for friendship and sharing knowledge, but their lifestyle is provoking.

A part of this lifestyle does includes a will to provoke, and Anders and his friends have more than once been in the limelight of the police and the larger society of Kirkenes. Although he his perhaps not as provocative in his behaviour as he used to be, he still claims the right not to live a mainstream life.

In the High North strategy of the Norwegian government, education is described as a key factor for development of the region. Boys who drop out of school are defined as a problem that must be solved.

The trend of young men who drop out of school is especially high in the northernmost county of Norway, Finnmark. Research and reports aim to find out why the boys ”loose out”. Is school not offering them the relevant knowledge? And how about recognition for the knowledge they do possess?

This story was first published in 2013.

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