Enough, OK?

Danes scale back teach­ing in English

THE (Times Higher Education) - - CONTENTS - El­lie.both­[email protected]­ere­d­u­ca­tion.com

Lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties in Den­mark are set to close sev­eral de­gree pro­grammes and switch the medium of in­struc­tion from English to Dan­ish in re­sponse to a gov­ern­ment drive to re­duce in­ter­na­tional stu­dent num­bers.

Aal­borg Univer­sity has an­nounced that it will close seven de­gree pro­grammes, change the medium of in­struc­tion from English to Dan­ish on six and put one English-lan­guage pro­gramme “on standby”. It means that nearly all bach­e­lor’s pro­grammes at the in­sti­tu­tion will be taught in Dan­ish in fu­ture, with two cour­ses at its smaller Es­b­jerg cam­pus be­ing the only ex­cep­tions.

Mean­while, Aarhus Univer­sity told Times Higher Ed­u­ca­tion that it will close two de­gree pro­grammes and change the lan­guage of in­struc­tion in two pro­grammes and five spe­cial­i­sa­tions or tracks.

In Au­gust, the Dan­ish gov­ern­ment an­nounced that it would cut be­tween 1,000 and 1,200 English­language univer­sity places across six of Den­mark’s eight uni­ver­si­ties. It claimed that 42 per cent of grad­u­ates of English-lan­guage mas­ter’s pro­grammes left the coun­try af­ter two years and that only a third of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents made a “pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion” to Dan­ish pub­lic fi­nances over their life­time.

In a state­ment, Aal­borg said that it had been or­dered to “re­duce ad­mis­sions of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents by 290 in 2019” and had de­cided that clos­ing pro­grammes or chang­ing the lan­guage of in­struc­tion were the “two most ef­fi­cient ways” of achiev­ing the re­duc­tion.

Hanne Tange, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor in the de­part­ment of cul­ture and global stud­ies at Aal­borg, said that she viewed the pol­icy as the re­sult of “an un­holy al­liance be­tween a gov­ern­ment look­ing for sav­ings that will not an­noy vot­ers too much and a party [the Dan­ish Peo­ple’s Party] seek­ing any ex­cuse to tar­get Europe/ for­eign­ers/any­thing in­ter­na­tional”.

She added that as Dan­ish uni­ver­si­ties can­not dis­crim­i­nate against Euro­pean Union stu­dents in the ad­mis­sions process, in­sti­tu­tions have de­cided to cut or “re­na­tion­alise” English-lan­guage pro­grammes to abide by both the pol­icy and the law.

“They are in­tro­duc­ing Dan­ish mod­ules, which is a smart way to ac­tu­ally ex­clude all peo­ple not speak­ing Dan­ish with­out ac­tively dis­crim­i­nat­ing against Euro­pean stu­dents,” Dr Tange said.

The changes will make “in­ter­na­tional re­cruit­ment of staff dif­fi­cult for the uni­ver­si­ties”, and for­eign aca­demics al­ready in Den­mark who are not flu­ent in Dan­ish are in a “vul­ner­a­ble po­si­tion in case of fur­ther cuts where uni­ver­si­ties may have to re­duce staff num­bers”, she con­tin­ued.

Niels Lehmann, vice-dean for ed­u­ca­tion at Aarhus, said that “it’s highly re­gret­table that we have ended up in this sit­u­a­tion” and added that the changes were a “step back­wards in our ef­forts to in­ter­na­tion­alise our de­gree pro­grammes”.

The Univer­sity of Copen­hagen and the Univer­sity of South­ern Den­mark con­firmed that they had been told to cut in­ter­na­tional stu­dent places by 120 and 160, re­spec­tively, but said that they had not yet come up with a plan to achieve this. Roskilde Univer­sity said that it “ex­pects to re­duce the num­ber of study places at our in­ter­na­tional study pro­grammes” but added that it was in the process of de­cid­ing how to abide by the gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy.

Mean­while, Copen­hagen Busi­ness School said that it had been told to cut 400 places on fi­nance, in­no­va­tion and man­age­ment mas­ter’s pro­grammes, but said that it would not can­cel any pro­grammes or change the lan­guage of in­struc­tion of any cour­ses.

On ice a gov­ern­ment pol­icy to cut in­ter­na­tional stu­dent num­bers has led Dan­ish uni­ver­si­ties to halt cour­ses and re­duce English-lan­guage teach­ing

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