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Eurostudent shines light on student conditions

June 15, 2011
Danish students take the longest sabbatical, get the most state support and are among the most mobile of all European students. These conclusions and more have been revealed in the latest Eurostudent study that compares student living conditions across Europe. The report is being published today.
– Danish students actually have it pretty good. The new European comparative analysis of student living conditions helps put the Danish debate in perspective. There is no doubt that we can, and must, improve in many areas. That includes both the number of taught hours and the length of sabbaticals, but overall it presents a very reasonable image, says Science Minister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen.

Only a fourth of Danish students do not take a sabbatical period – making Denmark the leading European country where young people wait the longest before beginning their studies. However the study does show that the length of sabbaticals has fallen in recent years. Denmark also ranks highly (top 5) for international mobility, with 22 percent of graduates having been abroad during their studies. Danish students are also those who receive the most state support. They have an average income of DKK 7,000 a month, but only DKK 6,000 a month in expenses.

– Politically, we would like to see Danish young people beginning their studies earlier and entering the labour market a lot quicker, so that they may contribute to growth in society. The Government has taken the initiative to make this an attractive option. And the figures show it's working. Likewise, we are working towards providing the SU study grants only for the official length of the programme* and that the grants can be better adapted to individual situations.
– I am pleased that Danish students are among the best for international mobility during their studies, but I would like to see the figures improve even more. For example, engineering students could explore their international options more. Denmark is a small country and global understanding is crucial for us to succeed internationally.
– It is also rather noteworthy that Danish students have the highest level of state support, but that they themselves are only moderately satisfied with their financial situation. I hope that the report helps Danish students put their conditions in perspective, says Charlotte Sahl-Madsen.

The number of taught hours within the Humanities field in Denmark is below the European average. On the other hand, the number of taught hours in engineering is the second highest in Europe. With 15 hours in difference between the two fields, Denmark has the largest disparity between these two education fields in Europe.

– I would like to see more taught hours within the Humanities and social sciences fields. That is why we increased the taximeters significantly two years ago. We did this with the expectation of more and better quality teaching. I hope this will be reflected in the next Eurostudent survey. Furthermore, I have decided to appoint a committee to analyse the taximeter system, says Charlotte Sahl-Madsen.

The Eurostudent report will be published on Wednesday June 15th 2011 at a conference at the IT University of Copenhagen. Science Minister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen will open then conference and on Thursday June 16th 2011 there will be an open debate at Tietgenkollegiet in Copenhagen which will focus on the results from a Danish perspective.

* Under the Danish students' Grants and Loans Scheme, students can currently extend their grant period up to 12 months more than the official programme period.

Further information:

Science Minister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen can be contacted via press officer Charlotte Holst, tel: +45 2211 0200 or email: chhh@vtu.dk.

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