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Exam — Censors will now assess students’ master’s theses at the Faculty of Humanities in just five hours. They used to do it in ten hours.
Humanities students’ final master’s thesis at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) will from now on be assessed by a censor in only five hours instead of ten. This is according to the Magisterbladet news site.
The students have spent half a year, or more, writing 50, 80 or sometimes 100+ pages.
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen blames the move on a number of cost cuts from the Danish government, totalling more than DKK 160 million.
Just like all the other cuts and service reductions at the university at the moment, this is a real drag. We spend a really long time writing our assignments, so it’s important that those who assess the theses get enough time to assess them and provide feedback.
Laura Bech Hansen, Student Council
The cuts include the so-called re-prioritization contribution which cuts two per cent off government education subsidies annually in the period 2016-2020, and prolonged to 2021 if the government has its budget proposal approved in parliament.
Chairman of the Humanities Council Niklas Zenius says to the University Post that it’s a bad idea to halve the review period:
“There is a limit to how much you can go into depth with something in five hours. This is bad because there should not only be time to read and assess, but also to investigate sources, arguments and theories,” he says, continuing:
“The Danish parliament believes they can keep on cutting costs without sacrificing core services and quality. This is an illusion.”
Laura Bech Hansen from the Student Council reckons that the halving of assessment times increases the gap – already too wide – between the work time of students on writing their theses, and the time spent assessing them:
“Just like all the other cuts and service reductions at the university at the moment, this is a real drag. We spend a really long time writing our assignments, so it’s important that those who assess the theses get enough time to assess them and provide feedback.”
Dean of the Faculty of Humanities Ulf Hedetoft says to the Magisterbladet site that the Danish government’s annual two per cent cut on university funding until 2020, forces him to cut right to the bone – and sometimes beyond. The halving of assessment times on theses is a necessity:
“All cuts are a reduction of service, but we need to find the savings somewhere – or most often everywhere – so that a number of areas contribute,” Dean Ulf Hedetoft says to Magisterbladet.
Master’s theses at the Faculty of Humanities are typically between 50 and 100 pages long. At the university college UCC in Copenhagen, they have made a guide to censors in which the reading time is set at 30 minutes for every 5 pages of written assignment. If the same reading time is transferred to theses at the University of Copenhagen, the five hours will be used up after 50 pages. And with no time for subsequent grading or thesis statement. If the thesis is 100 pages long, it’s probably hard to read it at all.
Chairman of the Humanities Council Niklas Zenius says that the Faculty of Humanities is now considering cutting the length of theses as a direct consequence of the halving of the assessment period.