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Let refugees study at UCPH - open letter from Rector

Well educated refugess will integrate better, says Rector Ralf Hemmingsen in open letter to the Danish Minister of Education. Prorector Lykke Friis is optimistic that he will listen

UCPH rector Ralf Hemmingsen has sent an open letter asking the Minister of Education, Esben Lunde Larsen, for permission to educate refugees, free of charge. Since the refugees are coming from outside they would otherwise be required to pay the full tuition fee.

“Part of the refugees coming to the country are highly educated, and will, with the right education, be integrated better and gain access to the Danish labour market quicker”, Hemmingsen stated to

In order to admit the students, the university would need dispensation from the normal admissions requirements, and assess the refugees on their “real competencies”.

Was used for Balkans crisis

UCPH is willing to create a mentor program and accommodate the refugees in whichever way necessary.

Hemmingsen further states that the refugees will need a stipend (udlandsstipendium) to cover cost of living, a measure that has been used before, specifically in the 1990s with regards to the refugees from the Balkans, and that Germany, right now, is taking different measures to allow refugees to study for free.

See the letter to Minister of Education, Esben Lunde Larsen on the Pdf file below this article. More details in Danish here:

Used similar plea in Ukraine crisis

Prorector Lykke Friis informs the University Post that Esben Lunde Larsen hasn’t commented so far on Rector’s letter. But she is positive about the prospects. The University of Southern Denmark, DTU and Metropol all support the letter and what is equally important the students.

“There are grounds for optimism looking at the reaction of our own students. The Student Council has come out in support of the letter,” she says.

The university brought forward a similar proposal with regards to the Ukraine crisis, but the prorector believes that given the critical situation, the plea has a better chance of being successful.

Division of labour

The support of the other educational institutions is pivotal, both in order to convince the minister, but also for the actual education of the refugees. UCPH doesn’t offer any full programmes in English, so the institutions would have to “divide the labour, and spend time finding the right match between the student and institution,” according to Lykke Friis.

“We also want to contribute to solving this crisis, but it is also a win-win situation for Danish society.” Mentioning the example of medicine students, Lykke Friis believes that Danish society can benefit from the refugee influx in terms of satisfying the need for doctors.

The letter should be understood as a clear signal to the government that the university is willing to take responsibility, as the prorector states, “with this letter we want to say, ‘we are ready, if the government is’. If not we’ll have to find another way.”

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