Global education right on the doorstep: the loophole in the Danish school system

Global education right on the doorstep: the loophole in the Danish school system

Three years ago, a report from the economic and political think tank Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd (AE) concluded that the education sector was witnessing a gradual migration of students from public to private schools – especially international schools.

And it seems to have been born out of the waiting lists that the majority of international schools in Hellerup, the hearth of international schools in Denmark, have.

Almost every fifth
The AE report concludes that an increasing number of children in Denmark have attended privately funded independent schools since 2009.

In 2019, 18 percent of students in 1st grade went to private schools against just 13 percent in 2009. Also among students in private schools in 8th grade, there was an increase of 5 percentage points.

The overall conclusions were crystal clear. Children from the higher and middle income groups in Denmark are increasingly going to private schools, and this has been to the detriment of the operational efficiency of every fifth primary school.

The figures are backed by 2017 data from Statistics Denmark, which has calculated that there are about 550 independent schools in Denmark, serving 110,000 students nationwide – about 17 percent of the school-going population.

That same year, the current governing party, the Social Democrats, when it led the opposition, designated free schools as a serious opponent of integration and said they would like to see their appropriations cut.

Free schools have a reputation for being Muslim, but in reality there are only 26 such schools, of which 10 in Copenhagen, which cater to around 5,000 students.

Cheapest in Europe
Estimated income has grown rapidly among the higher and middle income groups over the last two decades, yet private schools are incredibly cheap.

Thanks to generous support from the state, which pays 73 percent of all their costs, Copenhagen has some of the cheapest international schools in the world, according to the latest report from the International Schools Database (ISD).

The report assessed the situation in 29 cities in 19 European countries, and Copenhagen was the cheapest.

The average annual fee to be paid at its international schools is $ 30,200. The cheapest was 25,000 kroner and the most expensive, Copenhagen International School (CIS), was 133,750.

“In Denmark, both public and private schools (which include international schools) are all strongly supported by the public sector. This may explain why education is so affordable – relatively speaking – in a country with a reputation for high cost of living, ”the ISD report explained.

A global education
Just to clarify, this means that parents at the cheapest school pay $ 25,000 for an education that is actually worth $ 92,500, and that CIS parents pay $ 133,750 for an education of $ 581,500.

By comparison, the annual tuition fee at Eton College is $ 433,000, though the actual value may be significantly higher.

Nevertheless, the ISD report could conclude that Copenhagen is the cheapest in Europe by considering the CIS as an outlier – a statistical anomaly – and calculating the results based on median average and not mean average.

And it seems that the Danes are waking up to the enormous potential in international schools, where they can get a private education for their children for a relatively small amount, which greatly increases their chances of being admitted to a Ivy League or Oxbridge University in the process.

Small classes, great prospects
The primary schools have historically laid the foundation for an equal society like Denmark, and its people willingly pay higher taxes than most other countries in the world to maintain and maintain a decent standard of living for as many people as possible.

Danish taxpayers have financed an expensive primary school system, but there is growing concern among parents that it is not able to live up to their expectations of their children in an increasingly globalized society.

Parents are able to see which schools are doing well in the final exams at the end of the ninth grade, and indicate which schools are best suited to their students’ social well-being, but this is probably in view of the enormous class sizes in the most schools?

In international schools, class sizes are significantly smaller, often tripling the amount of individual attention for each student, and the academic view is more global.

Meanwhile, international parents can often feel alienated by the strong focus on Danish culture – especially if they have limited Danish skills. The rejection of all multicultural values ​​is a rejection.

Source: The Nordic Page

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