Denmark to provide free education to students from developing countries
The development minister, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale), and the education minister, Morten Østergaard (Radikale) want to provide scholarships for young people from developing countries in Asia and Africa so that they can receive a university education in Denmark.
Bach said that he hopes to offer the assistance to at least 50 young people as early as next summer, with an eye towards expansion.
“There are many students in poor countries who do not get the education they dream about,” Bach said. “We can offer them the opportunity to come here and then return home and participate in improving their society.”
Bach said that there would be a particular focus on providing education in the fields of agriculture, water and energy.
“Those are areas we are good at in Denmark, and the poor countries need to create solutions in those areas,” he said.
Bach said that the scholarships would represent only a small amount of the Foreign Ministry’s expenditures and that the plan would be financed through the government’s recently-released budget.
Bach’s proposal was greeted with scepticism by Mai Henriksen, the research spokesperson for the Konservative party, who doubted that it would make much difference since the best and brightest from developing countries already have university degrees.
Dansk Folkeparti’s research spokesman Jens Henrik Thulesen Dahl said that the focus should be on educating Danes.
“The government’s stated objective is that as many young Danes as possible receive an education, and we have just discovered that there are many challenges to ensuring the quality level at our nation’s universities,” Dahl said.