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New interactive site ranks university independence

Danish universities score well on organisation, but poorly on academic freedom

Danish universities are free to make decisions on top jobs and internal structure, but restricted on admissions procedures and introducing new study programmes.

This is according to a recent European University Association study that has now been made into a highly clickable interactive scorecard, the so-called EUA autonomy scorecard.

Whether you want to compare Denmark and Sweden or the UK and France the new website makes it easy to evaluate 26 European countries over four areas; organisational, financial, staffing and academic autonomy.

Estonia, UK the highest

The EUA finds that »the Danish higher education system is generally characterised by high levels of institutional freedom« coming second in that measure. However, »academic autonomy is somewhat more restricted, with Denmark belonging to the ‘medium low’ group,« a ranking that is shared with countries such as Slovakia and Italy.

Autonomy is seen as vital for universities’ success: It lets them plan and make strategies without government micromanaging, the EUA claims. As such these rankings are part of the EU’s flagship ‘innovative union’ to make the region the worlds most dynamic region by 2020.

Greece was at the bottom of the ranking coming dead last in the majority of indicators. Cyprus, France and Turkey all also achieved less than 50 per cent on average. The list was topped by Estonia and the UK.

Strange metrics

Some of the metrics where Denmark scores badly could be disputed: It recieves zero per cent for ability to charge fees, and only 67 per cent for ‘salaries for senior administrative staff’ which are regulated by an external board. Factors that some students and staff may consider positive.

The whole report can be found here.

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