Four years after the reform that increased the number of school hours, around 50 percent are going their own way and reverting to shorter school days, a new survey carried out by the Education Ministry reveals.
Longer school days were intended to allow for the possibility of more varied teaching, more physical exercise and the possibility of help with homework on school premises.
However, the law also allowed for an alternative model whereby schools could keep shorter days but have two teachers in class during some lessons.
A whopping 49 percent have been allowed to choose the alternative model – not necessarily for the whole school but for some classes, reports TV2 Nyheder.
The association of teachers, Danmarks Lærerforening, applauds the move.
“It’s good to see that so many schools are availing themselves of the possibility of shortening the school day. We know that it is not the number of hours but rather the quality of the teaching that is decisive when it comes to how clever students become,” said the chair of the association’s teaching group, Jeanette Sjøberg.
Hold your horses
However experts urge caution when it comes to judging the new model.
“It’s too early to say whether the reform works or it doesn’t,” said Chantal Nielsen, a senior researcher at the Danish centre for social science research, VIVE.
“The study has revealed that a lot of students think their day is too long, but it also shows their well-being and academic participation has been stable. We have not seen a dip, so it is too soon to conclude that long school days are bad,” added Nielsen.
Nielsen did admit, however, that the reform demands a great deal when it comes to teachers planning lessons late in the afternoon when pupils are tired.
“The students we have spoken to say they experience the school day as being incredibly long and tiring when the teaching during the final hours is boring – if there are double periods and if they feel unprepared,” said Nielsen.
“On the other hand, they find the time flies by if the lesson is fun and exciting and they have a degree of input and control themselves.”