The low number of students, which comes from a check to public records conducted in March by the Magisterbladet journal, is some way from a target of between 500 and 1,000 students it was hoped would attend courses after the option was given to study in ten smaller towns across Denmark at so-called ‘study stations’ (uddannelsesstationer).
The programme is part of a government initiative to get more people studying for vocational qualifications outside of Denmark’s biggest cities.
North Jutland did not see a single student make use of the option, according to the report.
Although the 500-1,000-student target is not expected to be reached until the concept is fully phased-in, the low current figure is evidence of problems with the government’s 160-million-kroner plan, according to University College Copenhagen head teacher Stefan Hermann, who is also a spokesperson for leaders of vocational colleges.
Hermann also noted problems with funding at the colleges.
“In the period 2016-22 we are to make cuts of 670 million kroner, so the government’s contribution is at the modest end of the scale,” he said.
“At the moment, the government is not supporting development with its policies. If you want to set up study stations, these should be planned well in advance in consultation with us,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Social Democrats, who could form a new minority government after the coming election, announced that they also supported relocating higher educational courses, including study programmes for teachers, nurses, childcare professionals and social workers.
The party said it was not surprised by the apparent lack of interest in the study station project.
“We think the government has made two fundamental mistakes,” said Social Democrat acting political spokesperson Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil.
“Firstly, they have not planned this properly with those in the field.
“The second mistake is that they have put a sum of money aside whilst simultaneously draining the education sector of funding,” she said.
But Rosenkrantz-Theil rejected the suggestion young people only want to study in big cities.
“Young people must be introduced to the existing options, and those options must be attractive,” she said.
Ritzau has also requested comment from the governing Liberal party on the issue.