'New' Danes grow

March 6, 1998

THE number and proportion of "new" Danes - immigrants and refugees from non-European Union countries and their children - entering higher education in Denmark is growing.

Figures from the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Bureau of Statistics show that the number has grown from 1,723 in 1980 to 2,739 in 1994.

The 59 per cent growth comes from a larger number of adult students from refugee countries in the Middle East, such as Iran, Iraq and the Lebanon. The proportion of refugees among the "new" Danes starting higher education grew from 14 per cent to 39 per cent. But young people from guest-worker countries, such as Turkey, Pakistan and ex-Yugoslavia, are under-represented.

Of the "new" Danes entering higher education, 45 per cent chose longer courses and 20 per cent opted for shorter courses; only 40 per cent of Danes chose longer courses. Two-thirds of the "new" Danes in higher education are men.

Students from refugee and guest-worker countries often choose technical subjects, the natural sciences and the social sciences, but they take slightly longer to finish their studies than Danes.

But "new" Danes - including those with good, relevant qualifications - face discrimination when applying for jobs.

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