Denmark to reduce English-language student numbers

Denmark to reduce English-language student numbers
Photo: Iris/Scanpix
Too many students leave Denmark after completing study programmes taught in English, says education minister Søren Pind, who has promised to cut down admissions to English-language programmes.

The minister will work together with institutions to find a way to reduce the number of students following English-language programmes, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science confirmed in a press statement.

The ministry will aim to cut every fourth spot available on institutions running English-language vocational courses (erhvervsakademier and professionshøjskoler) – a total of 1,600 fewer places in 2017 compared to 2015.

According to a study carried out by the ministry, only one-fifth of graduates from vocational-related study programmes are working in Denmark two years after graduating.

The study also showed that many foreign students leave Denmark within two years after completing their studies, while many of those that remain do so to continue into higher education.

“We can see that the number of foreign students that come here to get an education paid for by Danish taxpayers has increased sharply in recent years. But there are far too few staying and contributing to Denmark afterwards. So we need to make a reduction in admissions,” said Pind.

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The minister also said that all further education programmes in Denmark should educate people for the benefit of the Danish employment sector, and that many programmes do not currently serve that purpose.

Jens Henrik Thulesen Dahl of the nationalist Danish People’s Party was supportive of the move by the education ministry.

“It makes no sense to admit so many foreign students to our study programmes if they go home again when they are done studying here. This is the first step towards making sure we only bring in the right amount that will be of tangible benefit to Denmark. Our education system is not supposed to educate young people from all of Europe,” Dahl said.

A similar analysis will now also be carried out of engineering programmes and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

The ministry will also look into how the content of English-language programmes can be adapted to make them more focused on the needs of the Danish job market, said the statement.

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