Three cabinet members are proposing that Denmark do more to attract foreign students and so carve a greater share of the international education market.
The ministers – science, innovation and higher education minister Morten Østergaard (Radikale), children and education minister Christine Antorini (Socialdemokraterne) and trade and investment minister Pia Olsen Dyhr (Socialistisk Folkeparti) – outlined their vision in an opinion piece in Kristeligt Dagblad yesterday.
”The value of the international education market is $2.2 trillion a year,” they wrote. “That is almost ten times Denmark’s gross domestic product and in the coming years the global education market will grow at an explosive tempo.”
Denmark’s vocational training programs at university colleges were identified as the sector most likely to offer growth, though it would require increasing the number programmes offered in English.
“Countries such as New Zealand and Australia earn billions exporting education to Asia. They have an advantage because of their language, so we need to make an extra effort to teach in English,” Dyhr said, according to the Berlingske Nyhedsbureau news agency.
“English is becoming the dominant language for university education but our university colleges are lagging behind. International students lift the quality of schools so I think they will find a solution. The Danish students will also have strengthened career prospects by being educated in English.”
Østergaard stressed, however, that they were not proposing that all programmes be taught in English, but rather creating parallel programmes in English that Danish students could participate in.
University College Zealand is already capitalising on exporting education, particularly to students from Vietnam.
“We don’t sell degree programmes, but rather courses for teachers and nurses,” Ulla Koch, the rector of University College Zealand, said, adding that over 100 Vietnamese students qualify and return home every year.
This week the government announced its plans to grant foreign students green cards after they have completed three-year university educations, allowing allow them to stay an additional three years to find work.