Travelling Danes saved by English

October 13, 1995

Danish universities are considering whether to increase radically the number of courses taught in English to attract foreign students to Denmark.

The Danes fear that they will not be able to attract sufficient numbers of foreign students to balance the number of their own students eager to spend part of their studies abroad through Socrates, the latest incarnation of the European Union's student exchange scheme which replaced Erasmus.

European universities are now expected to match the number of students travelling to and from their country.

Speaking to Politiken, Sven Caspersen, rector of Aalborg University and chairman of the Danish Rector's Committee for International Affairs warned that "there is considerable cause for concern," because the Danes' major obstacle to attracting students is that courses are taught in Danish, one of the EU's minority languages.

Figures from the Danish ministry of education show that between 1993/94 some 1,500 Danes took part in the Erasmus scheme, while only 1,000 EU students came to Denmark.

Until now, the short-fall in students coming to Denmark had gone unchallenged. However, if the EU ruling is strictly enforced, as Caspersen fears, many Danish students may find themselves forced to remain at home.

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