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Report points to increase in socioeconomic inequality between Danish schools

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Report points to increase in socioeconomic inequality between Danish schools
File photo: Linda Kastrup/Scanpix Denmark
09:19 CET+01:00
A carpenter's son and company director's daughter are less likely to share a class at Danish schools than in previous years, according to a report.

The number of Danish schools in which children's parents have a broad range of incomes is decreasing, according to the analysis, which was made by trade union think tank and research institution The Economic Council of the Labour Movement (ECLM) and reported by newspaper Berlingske.

In 2017, the proportion of Danish schools with a relatively even spread of income groups amongst students fell to 28 percent from a previous level of 40 percent, the analysis found.

Jonas Schytz Juul, head analyst with ECLM, told Berlingske that the trend could reflect an increasing tendency for the Danish population to choose neighbours that are similar to themselves - at both ends of the economic scale.

What appears to resemble a growing class divide could present a democratic problem for the Scandinavian nation, according Aarhus University professor in sociology Martin D. Munk.

"It could mean that our children become clever academically but lose social competencies because they don't know anyone other than their own type," Munk said to Berlingske.

"That could in turn be a democratic problem for our society, which depends on knowing about and understanding the living conditions of others," he added.

In Gentofte near Copenhagen, Skovgårdsskolen is one example of a school at which the range of parent incomes is weighted.

70-80 percent of parents have net earnings of over 321,000 kroner (43,000 euros) annually, while 0-10 percent have net annual incomes of up to 159,300 kroner (21,400 euros).

That is in contrast to the Thybøron school in Lemvig, west Jutland, where 10-20 percent of parents fall into each of the aforementioned income categories, Berlingske reports.

The newspaper was unable to reach minister for education Merete Riisager for comment.

READ ALSO: Denmark has lowest levels of childhood inequality


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