Academy of Young Researchers
The newly elected head of the Academy for Young Researchers, Jonas Stein, fears cuts in the humanities if the Støre government is inspired too much by Denmark’s decentralization reform in higher education.
Stavanger / Bergen (Khrono): In the Hurdal platform, the Støre government announces a reform for decentralized education, and key politicians in the Center Party have said they will learn from the Danes’ district policy.
This spring, the Social Democratic government in Denmark will present a radical plan to move study places out of the largest cities, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg.
With the strategy, 25 new campuses will be spread across the Danish landscape. It regrets 7,500 study places outside the big cities. Reception of students in the big city is reduced by ten percent.
It is “the largest decentralization measure ever”, Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen stated when the plan was presented.
Fear Danish inspiration
The Academy for Young Researchers elected new management at the general meeting and had seminars in Stavanger on Thursday and Friday this week.
During a panel discussion on Friday, the newly elected leader of the Academy for Young Researchers (AYF) and associate professor of political science at UiT Norway’s Arctic University, Jonas Stein, fears that the Støre government may be inspired too much by the Social Democratic prime minister Mette Fredriksen in Denmark.
– We are concerned that the investment in the districts will take place at the expense of the established professional environments. We believe that it is very important that we have a breadth and a diversity of subjects in Norwegian academia, says Stein to Khrono after the seminar.
He says that this is an input to the operationalization of the Hurdal platform.
– We would like to enter into a dialogue with Ola Borten Moe and the government about this, says Stein.
Vedum’s Danish “flirt”: That’s why they want students out of the big cities
Subjects with high unemployment must cut study places
Now Denmark began to see the consequences of the plan «More and better educational opportunities throughout Denmark».
The University of Copenhagen will cut ten percent of the annual student admissions by 2030 – a total of 1590 places. 40 percent of these will be taken from the humanities. It writes the university in one net case.
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen has to apply for 640 places, which can, however, have 24 percent of the faculty’s annual admissions.
The reason for this is that these subjects on average have the highest unemployment among the newly graduated students. Humanities subjects have already passed through cuts in several rounds in Denmark.
Also in theology and a number of natural science subjects, study places must be cut – for the same reason as for the humanities – for high unemployment among the newly graduated.
– It is important that you do not end up there
– There is a lot in the Hurdal platform that we are positive about – such as the fact that we will temporarily come up with more study places and ensure a better gender balance, Stein maintains.
But he also has:
– An investment in the districts must not be used to break down good professional environments.
– Why do you see this as a danger?
– In Denmark, study places are moved from the humanities to the districts. If we did the same in Norway, it would be bad for us as a nation of knowledge. I’m not saying that this is something this government has planned – but it is important that you do not end up there, he says.
Stein believes that the goals of educating relevant labor and having an education throughout the country must not be at the expense of quality in research and education.
– We believe that quality is what is the basis for good education and knowledge-based societal development, he says.
Going forward, Stein says that the Academy for Young Researchers will work to recruit good people for research and special temporary work in the university and college sector.
– We want to help show how important research is for god community development. It is thanks to research that we can get through this pandemic, for example, he says.
Is inspired by Norwegian model
It is not only Norwegian politicians who have looked at Denmark. When Khrono spoke to earlier this year The Danish Minister of the Interior and Housing, Kaare Dybvad, pointed to Norway and said that while, for example, colleges have been held in districts in Hedmark and in Western Norway, some smaller colleges have been closed in Denmark.
– This has meant that we lack qualified labor in schools and private companies in several parts of the country. The main ambition is to ensure development in all parts of the country and ensure that young people outside the largest cities have the opportunity to take higher education, that they are not allowed to move to, for example, Copenhagen to take an education, Dybvad told Khrono.
He added that the Norwegian side has planned more decentrally, also when it comes to educational institutions.
– It is a strong way to ensure and also the other cities besides the capital area can develop. Here we have had a far more centralist tradition in Denmark, that is what we can try to take and do with well, so he.