July 21. 2024. 5:20

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Denmark presents controversial plan to shorten Master’s programmes

The length of many Master’s degrees is to be halved, according to the education reform plan presented by the government on Thursday – a move experts and the opposition believe will greatly harm the Danish education system.

With its new education reform presented on Thursday, the Danish government will, among other things, shorten almost half of the country’s 500 master’s programmes so that instead of two years, they last one year and three months.

The reform was presented by Danish Minister for Research and Education Christina Egelund at a press conference together with Minister for Children and Education Mattias Tesaye and Minister for Economic Affairs Troels Lund Poulsen.

“We are doing this in some cases to have new university programmes that have a much clearer labour market focus than what we have today”, said Christina Egelund at the press conference.

According to the new Minister for Research and Education, it is a tool to break up the education system, which she says is “very locked” right now.

At the same time, the Danish government will extend some master’s programmes to last between 2.5 and three years.

“For example, in places where the technology is so complicated that it takes longer to finish the studies,” Egelund said, mentioning the quantum and nano fields, as well as health and life sciences.

However, this initiative has surprised the opposition as it is believed to make a dent in the otherwise high-quality Danish educational system. Some critics also see it as a hidden cost-cutting exercise, namely in humanities and social sciences.

“How can we learn everything in half the time?” he asked.

Politically, the bill is also meeting resistance as Education spokesperson for the Radical Left Katrine Robsøe called it “a really bad idea”.

“I think it’s scary that for the first time in history, we have a government that has the declared goal of reducing the level of education,” she told TV 2.

According to her, it will ultimately be detrimental to the students, and she does believe that it is an austerity exercise on the part of the ruling coalition – composed of the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the centre-right Moderates.

According to the government’s plans, the first students could start on the modified master’s programmes in 2028.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)