Class size ceiling will push students into containers

To meet criteria of 28 students per class, schools need to find alternative locations

Come next school year, high school students may be attending classes in freight containers and sheds, Berlingske newspaper reports.

When a 28-student-per-class cap is instituted next August, there will not be enough room for all of the students so the Education Ministry has asked head teachers to come up with alternative teaching locations.

Conducting classes in makeshift settings will have a negative impact on the quality of eduction, Gymnasieskolernes Rektorforening, the national association of head teachers, is concerned.

“The government has achieved a Pyrrhic victory,” association president Jens Boe Nielsen, told Berlingske. “The cost [of the student quota] is greater than the gains.”

After meeting with the Education Ministry, Nielsen said that head teachers would begin looking into alternative class locations, mentioning the possibility of placing containers in schools’ parking lots or renting rooms from businesses. Several school districts already are renting space to accommodate their students – Ørestad Gymnasium rents space in the shopping center Fields and Rysensteen Gymnasium rents disused buildings in the meatpacking district.

According to Gymnasieskolernes Rektorforening, the new ceiling on class sizes will mean a nationwide lack of space for 62 classes, 40 of which are in the Greater Copenhagen area.

In November, the association warned that the 120 million kroner set aside to achieve the class size ceiling would not be nearly enough, given stipulations in current law on how much teaching a high school student should receive and provisions in teachersÂ’ collective bargaining agreement that state how much of their time must be used teaching.

“It’s an overall disaster for the [education] sector,” Nielsen said. “If we now set the number of students who can be in a class, we will have a set price for what it costs to get a student through school – and a payment that is well below that.”