6.10 Current debates and reforms
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Forthcoming policy developments
The new Danish government presented its platform on December 15, 2022.
The following initiatives in the platform involve primary, lower and upper secondary education programmes:
- The government wishes to continue the partnership, Cooperation About School (Sammen om skolen), to solve the challenges in primary and lower secondary educational institutions. Furthermore, the government wishes to implement more freedom and flexibility at local schools.
- The government wishes to strengthen VET education programmes to make them more attractive to young people compared to general upper secondary programmes, for instance, via better equipment, better teaching competencies and a focus on the demands of the labour market.
- The government will also look into the economic management models of VET and general upper secondary education institutions to make their terms more similar.
- Furthermore, the government will consider restricting access to general upper secondary and merging several upper secondary education institutions into one location.
The following initiatives involve higher education programmes:
- The government wishes to initiate flexible education programmes. The initiative involves several elements:
- About half of all the master’s degree programmes should be changed from two-year programmes to one-year programmes.
- More lessons, smaller classes and better guidance will improve the quality of the new programmes.
- It should be easier for persons with a one-year master’s programme to enrol on further education programmes.
- Adjustment of student intake
- The government plans to involve universities, trade and industry, students, etc., in the new master’s programme. The government expect the first classes to graduate in 2029.
The government plans to reduce the state educational grant and extend the grant scheme. Furthermore, the government will analyse the state educational grant system in order to better support social mobility and create a more competitive international educational environment.
The government will establish 500-1 000 new student admissions in master’s degree programmes in English targeting areas in the labour market with a labour shortage.
The government will increase the intake of international students in certain education programmes where Danish companies demand well-educated labour.
The government will introduce a new procedure for admission to higher education programmes, for instance, better access to apply through Quota 2 and where grades are supplemented with other initiatives such as tests.
Increase the possibilities to further education throughout working life, for instance, via an ‘education account’.
Young people’s well-being is a major issue in Denmark, and it is discussed among stakeholders in the field of education and training.
Furthermore, the number of international degree students in Denmark that receive a state education grant (SU) has been increasing for a few years and politicians have discussed whether the increase is a problem or not. The solutions, so far, have been to reduce the intake of international students and reduce the number of English degree programmes. A new theme was added to the discussion in January 2023, where an analysis from The Danish Debt Collection Agency (Gældsstyrelsen) indicated that international students owe DKK 1.3 billion to public authorities because they used the loan scheme while studying in Denmark. The newly appointed Minister for Taxation has promised to look into the issues with the collection of debt.
On the other hand, several main actors in the labour market point out that international students are an economic gain for Danish society even when expenditures for student places, state educational grants, health and social services are deducted. Furthermore, they argue that Denmark needs foreign labour.