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Education

Timeline: 13 cuts to Danish humanities since 2011

Overview — The University of Copenhagen is about to cut admissions to the Faculty of Humanities by a quarter as a result of the government's relocation plan. But this is just the latest jaw-dropping development in a decade of bad news for the humanities. See the timeline here.

January 2011: Layoffs
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) cuts 35 jobs as part of a plan to reduce costs.

September 2014: Slashing admissions
The government, under the guidance of Minister of Education Sofie Carsten Nielsen, presents a plan to cut student numbers on certain programmes based on graduate unemployment. This means that the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen must reduce admissions to Master’s programmes by a third.

September 2015: Reprioritisation contribution
A majority consisting of Denmark’s Liberal Party, the Danish People’s Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives includes a reprioritisation contribution in the annual budget. This requires all educational institutions to reduce costs by 2 per cent annually for the next three years.

A Glimmer of hope

In September 2019, a majority consisting of the Social Democrat government, the Social Liberal party, the Red-Green Alliance, the Socialist People’s Party and the Alternative Party decide to abolish the reprioritisation contribution’s annual two percent cut on the 2020 budget and at the same time extend a so-called taximeter subsidy increase for the humanities and social sciences.

Degree programmes primarily receive subsidies determined  by the taximeter. In addition, the annual budget included a completion bonus and a subsidy for exchange students.

The various faculties get different amounts of taximeter subsidies per student. Humanities and social science subjects tend to receive the lowest rate, namely rate 1, DKK 32,500 per student full-time equivalent (student FTE) in 2021.

Since 2010, the humanities and social sciences have received a taximeter increase of DKK 5,000 per student FTE, after a report concluded that these programmes were underfunded.

October 2015: Programme closures
The Faculty of Humanities closes the Information Science and Cultural Communication programmes at Aalborg University.

May 2016: Layoffs
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen slashes 86 positions as part of a plan to cut costs.

April 2016: Closures and mergers
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen closes five programmes: Indonesian / Southeast Asian Studies, Finnish; Tibetology; Thai / Southeast Asian Studies and Indology. At the same time, Indo-European studies merged with Linguistics, and Hebrew and Turkish merged with Arabic and Persian, to become Middle Eastern studies.

September 2016: Merger
The Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics merges with the Nordic Research Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

September 2018: Merger
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen combines the subjects Eastern and Southeast European Studies, Balkan Studies, Polish and Russian into Eastern European Studies

February 2019: Merger
The Faculty of Humanities’ Department of Information Studies and the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen are merged.

May 2019: Layoffs
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen cuts 48 positions as part of a plan to save money.

June 2021: Relocation
The Social Democrats’ relocation plan, which means that the University of Copenhagen must relocate or reduce admissions by 10 per cent is enacted by a wide majority.

October 2021: Admissions slashed
The University of Copenhagen announces that it is reducing admissions to the Faculty of Humanities by a quarter as a result of the government’s relocation plan.

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