University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Why is an embassy party on the semester schedule?

The 12-hour requirement for bachelor’s degrees is being undermined by things like embassy parties counting as education. This is according to a columnist from the Student Council

In these times of crisis, I consider myself lucky that we at this university uphold a 12-hour requirement in our bachelor programmes. In the years before it was implemented my own Faculty of Humanities annoyingly let the weekly hour-count slip slowly but surely downwards. Before the introduction of the 12-hour requirement, the average number of hours at Humanities was just eight hours of lessons a week, and I am so pleased that the minimum number of hours has been there all the days I have been studying. This is the guarantee we students are given when we start on a bachelor’s degree.

When one of my friends told me about a Saturday she spent at an embassy party where she drank a little champagne, ate too many canapés and networked the rest of the day, I could not help but wonder.

Free food is good food, and she should, of course, be allowed to go to all the embassy parties she possibly can. There is nothing spectacular about this Saturday. No, it was rather the fact that the embassy party was written into her semester schedule. It apparently, in some places, counts as education. This is a – to put it mildly – creative use of the minimum number of hours.

I could not help but subsequently count the number of hours that I was offered. I found them, after a long search, in forgotten corners of my schedule, in the hours tallied for a writing workshop and for my field work. I just cannot help thinking that it is strange that I had to look so hard for things that in one way or another could fall under the category that by some would be accepted as teaching.

The 12-hour requirement suddenly stood before me as the lowest common denominator of all quality requirements. It requires a certain base level and it ensures a minimum allocation of funds for education. Something that I see as absolutely necessary, but apart from this, the requirement itself is not ambitious. In our times of austerity, where every penny is counted, the beautiful intentions seem to fade away. Instead the problems with the minimum requirement peep out.

My criticism should in no way be seen as suggesting that the 12-hour requirement should be abolished. No, I consider myself lucky that it exists, and I shudder when I think of how my study programme would be pieced together if it disappeared. This is more a cry for help. We need to make demands on the education that we are offered. Though there is not that much money, we should never be satisfied with just having the teaching. Certainly if we still want to see the University of Copenhagen as a world class university.