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Denmark

Higher Education


Denmark has five universities and a number of professional colleges that have gradually achieved university status (e.g., engineering and commerce). Mass university education has developed without overhauling the fundamental structure of institutions and programs. However, two of the universities are relatively new ones: Roskilde and Aalborg. These differ from the others in that the courses are organized around project work, and research and teaching are regarded as interdisciplinary. They were established as reforms in the 1970s and have had some impact on teaching in other universities, but not generally on structure. During the 1970s, a democratic governing system replaced the faculty collegial government. An unusual democratic culture has developed and still prevails, although it is on the decline. Universities in general have not been able to meet the demands for general reforms and for more openness and sensitivity to problems of society. Universities have resisted political pressure to adapt directly to the needs of industry and the labor market, and thus fueled a political process of applying criteria of the labor market and reorganizing the governing system of universities by centralizing and delegating substantial executive powers to rectors, deans and department heads. The views on the possible impact on the quality of education and research and on academic independence vary substantially, as do views on the need to reform universities.

Besides institutions at university level, there is a range of professional colleges that train primary school teachers, kindergarten and preschool pedagogues, nurses, and social workers, among other professionals. These have grown separately from other educational institutions, but have gradually become essential parts of the education system. In 2000, these colleges began to establish direct links to university institutions and research to strengthen professional education and direct research to issues related to these fields. They are part of a more open system for continuing education (see below), which may create new and flexible educational pathways. A "professional bachelor degree" is being introduced, giving access to master's degree programs at universities, which could trigger major changes in the traditional universities as well.


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Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceDenmark - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Primary Preprimary Education, Secondary Education