A leaked parliamentary memo reveals the Danish coalition government’s proposed changes to masters degree programs, including plans to potentially reduce undergraduate student intake for bachelor degree programs by up to 10%.
A leaked document, published by the financial newspaper Børsen on June 8, sheds light on ongoing negotiations between the coalition government and opposition parties in parliament regarding reforms in the higher education degree system.
These proposed reforms, if approved, would bring significant changes to masters degree programs and potentially reduce the intake of undergraduate students.
The government is currently deliberating on a higher education reform model that would impact 36% of masters level study positions.
Under this proposed model, 16% of places would be designated for a 15-month degree program, comprising 75 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits.
The remaining 20% of places would be allocated to business masters degrees, allowing students to work for 25 hours per week while studying part-time without student financing.
The leaked proposal suggests the possibility of educating a maximum of 5,000 masters business students annually.
At present, the masters degree in business attracts only 2% of masters students in Denmark. However, if the reform proposal is implemented, this specific intake would increase by tenfold.
According to data from Universities Denmark, there were 1,537 students enrolled in business masters degrees out of a total of 59,835 masters students in 2022.
Out of the 525 students admitted for the 2022 academic year into business masters degrees, 164 of them were enrolled at Copenhagen Business School (CBS).
The statistics from CBS highlight significant variations in the distribution of business masters students across major study areas: there were no students in the humanities or social sciences, 1,198 in the health sciences, 235 in the technological sciences, and 34 in the natural sciences.
On the other hand, at the University of Copenhagen, all 36 newly admitted students were pursuing studies in the natural sciences and biosciences.
One of the main objectives of the masters degree reforms is to ensure the inclusion of business-relevant elements in a wider range of academic fields.
According to the leaked proposal, if the target of 20% enrollment in the business masters degree is not met, additional masters programs may be shortened in order to meet the reform objective of 36% overall.
According to the memo, the Danish government has already identified the subject areas that will be impacted by the reforms.
The plan is to shorten 35% of masters degree programs in the humanities, 20% in the social sciences, 10% in the natural sciences, and 7% in the health sciences.
As per the proposal, the reformed business degree will be expanded to encompass 29% of masters degrees in the social sciences, 20% in the natural sciences, 15% in the technological sciences, and 14% in the humanities.
Academics and students have expressed their belief that the proposals are extreme. Brian Bech Nielsen, the rector at Aarhus University and chair of Universities Denmark, deemed the plan to shorten 36% of masters degrees to 15 months as “not feasible.”
Kira Ladegaard Knox, a masters student in educational science at Copenhagen University and deputy chair of the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs – student branch (DM), took to Twitter on June 9 to state that 36% was “extremely high for such an experiment in higher education.”
Source : universityworldnews.com