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Study: Most Danish students continue on after Bachelor's degree

90 per cent of Danish universities' Bachelor's students want to stay at university

With high youth unemployment, and courses ill suited for the job market, the vast majority of Bachelor students prefer to stay in school and pursue a Master’s degree, according to statistics released by Danish think-tank, DEA.

In contrast with their peers in the rest of Europe, 90% of students at the Bachelor level at Danish universities plan to continue studying. Only 52% of students in Great Britain plan to do the same, 54% of Swedish students, and 66% of German students.

“We are not advocating less education. We simply believe that for many students it is not as efficient to stay in the university for a five or six year stretch. If they acquired a job after their Bachelor degree, and experienced the job market, they would be in a better position to evaluate their prospects, and choose a Master’s which suits them”, says Magnus Balslev Jensen, who authored the brief and works as a consultant for the DEA.

No need to fuss over grades

It is apparent that Danish students see their undergraduate studies as preparation for a Master’s degree, as opposed to a rounded education, the report states.

The use of Bachelor degrees as nothing more than stepping stones to higher education is a failure of the Bologna Process – a pan-European agreement dividing higher education into a three year Bachelor, two year Master, and three year PhD. According to the report, Danish universities have implemented the 3-2-3 system, but failed to modify their courses accordingly.

“Currently, a lot of Bachelor degrees are very general in nature, and don’t prepare students well for the job market. We believe we should involve more businesses at the Bachelor level”, Magnus Jensen says.

The jobs are out there

Danish students, as well as EU residents, are paid a student grant (SU) while studying. Combined this with no tuition fees, education becomes an attractive prospect. Furthermore, it is uncommon for graduate programs in Denmark to require a grade point average for admission. According to the report 42% of British students are subject to grade requirements, while only 6% of Danes are.

Magnus Jensen says he does not believe jobs are hard to find for Bachelors. He points to another study (in Danish) done by the DEA which claims that in 2010, 90% of graduates with a Bachelor’s degree had full time employment.

DEA has previously advocated for less SU clips, effectively shortening the time students are paid to study in order to spur them on to complete their education more quickly.

Read the report (in Danish) here.

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