With a record number of students beginning their higher education at Danish universities next week, the minister for higher education said that it is “simply not good enough” that so many of them will show up ill-prepared.
Referring to the results of a commission study last year that concluded that every fourth student in higher education programmes shows up to classes unprepared, Esben Lunde Larsen said there needs to be “a culture shift” among Danish students.
“When you are a student at a Danish education institution and you get a free education with [the student stipend] SU on top of that, then society should have a clear expectation that you at the very least are a full-time student and show up prepared,” Larsen told Politiko.
Larsen also said that university professors need to hold their students up to higher standards. A survey conducted by Berlingske earlier this year revealed that 30 percent of professors have given their students passing marks even though they should have failed.
“It doesn't do any good if there is an expectation that you can just have a cozy time and have five full years to finish your education. It is completely unacceptable if the educators don't send the signal that one needs to show up for an education,” he said.
Larsen encouraged students to spend more time on their full-time studies and less on “travelling around the world, looking good, working out and a thousand other things”.
“When a large number of students talk about stress it can't solely be because they need to attend to their full-time studies. People have done that for generations,” he added.
The head of the national association for Danish students, Danske Studerendes Fællesråd, told Politiko that she couldn't “recognize the picture” painted by the minister for higher education.
“Students try to get as much as possible out of the not particularly great framework that is available to them in order to improve themselves. They generally have to fight against too few teaching hours and too little feedback, and they try all sorts of ways to get better,” Yasmin Davali told Politiko.