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Danish education reform

Danish students announced that a demonstrations would be held on 28 February

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has announced eight reforms to the student financial support system. The reforms would save the government DKK2 billion (US$360 million) a year. Students don´t support the reform.

The report on the reforms, Better Through Education – Reform of the SU-system (in Danish) was presented l by Minister of Education Morten Østergaard.

The goal of government’s reform policy is for 95% of young Danes to complete secondary education, 60% tertiary education and 25% a longer tertiary education. Today, entrance to tertiary education is often competitive. Some 84% of students complete their degree but, the report demonstrates, on average students take 6.1 years to finish a five-year degree.

Most students will be moderately affected by the reform. But students below the age of 20 who are living at home will have severe reductions in monthly payments – from DKK2,860 to DKK1,274 p – and there will be a cap on opportunities to select more than one education strand, to five choices against no current limit.

The report also shows that Denmark has the most generous student loan system in the world. At the press conference Østergaard said that no other country came close to the level of student grant and loan support. A comparatively high proportion of student financial aid is given as grants.

In 2009 Denmark spent 0.55% of gross national product (GNP) on the SU, while Finland, Norway and the UK respectively spent 0.34%, 0.27% and 0.043% of GNP. In the UK, the proportion of GNP spent on student aid is thus 13 times lower than in Denmark.

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