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Danish government: Billions to be cut from university budgets

The country's education institutions are to cut DKK 8.7 billion from their budgets over the course of four years. Minister of Education says that universities should show social responsibility

A “blow to the solar plexus”. This was what the University of Copenhagen’s Prorector for Education Lykke Friis said when she heard the news Friday that the Danish Liberal Party government plans to cut two per cent a year over the coming four years in higher education.

Minister for Higher Education Esben Lunde Larsen says that the billion kroner cuts will put the education sector on par with the rest of the public sector, which will face tighter budgets in the coming years.

“Of course it has consequences. But no-one should try to convince me that bloated institutions should not be tightened up. The education sector needs to hold back like all the other areas,” he says to the daily newspaper Politiken.

Students union: Will lead to lower quality

The new cuts come as a shock to the education sector, whose ministers for several years have been exempted from annual rounds of cuts.

The government says it will leave it to the rectors themselves to find the savings in the different institutions. It is therefore uncertain now exactly where the coming cutbacks will hit.

But according to the chairman of the Danish students union Yasmin Davali, the cuts will almost certainly lead to lower quality in an already pressured education system.

“Right now our education programmes are so under-financed that we may no longer be able to define them as quality education programmes” she says to the news agency Ritzau and adds that Denmark after the cuts will get a lower-educated population.

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