More hours in school for Copenhagen students

While days get shorter elsewhere in the country, the school day will get longer for students in the capital

For the third consecutive year, policy-makers in Copenhagen have spent money to keep students in school a bit longer each day. In 2013, young scholars in 3rd, 8th and 9th grades will be receiving extra hours of instruction in Danish, English and social studies.

The boost in hours next school year will mean that Copenhagen students will have three lessons more than the law requires and 0.6 more classroom hours per week than the Education Ministry recommends. The increase in classroom time in the capital bucks the national trend of shrinking school days.

Copenhagen's mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), said that it is time and money well spent.

“The goal of the extra hour of Danish in the third grade is to help Copenhagen school children be better at reading,” Jensen told Politiken newspaper. “It is also important that our students are ready for the labour market, so they are getting an extra hour of English in 8th grade.”

Jensen said the emphasis in 9th grade would be on vocational training and social sciences.

Beyond the educational benefits, the increased focus on primary school is an attempt to encourage parents to keep their kids in public schools. One in four Copenhagen students currently attends a private institution.

“Copenhagen parents should feel that their local primary school is a good deal,” Jensen told Politiken. “It is important that our schools continue to be a place where children of different backgrounds meet.”

The plan to increase class time in Copenhagen schools next year continues the strategy of the past two years. In 2011, extra hours were added to the 2nd, 4th and 6th grade levels and in 2012, students in 5th, 8th and 9th grades were given additional hours in Danish.

The increase in hours will cost nearly 10 million kroner and was supported by a majority of the lawmakers at city hall.