Student progression on time: the Danish Speed-up Reform

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The paper discusses and problematizes the ways, in which recent Danish university reform challenges the ideals of the ‘Nordic model’. The aim of the so-called ‘speed-up’ reform (in Danish ‘studiefremdriftsreformen’) is to cut the time available for students to complete their university studies. Starting in mid 2014 students will be obliged to sign up for exams for at least 60 ECTS a year. If a student flunks or in other ways gets more than 30 ECTS delayed, the state grants will stop until the student has regained the missing ECTS. Simultaneously, we see a major change in what is meant by flexibility.

Before the reform, the system was increasingly required to facilitate transfer of credits and make it easier for students to compose more personalized learning portfolios, which can include courses from different institutions and study programmes. The latter is very much in line with the ideas of the Bologna process. As a consequence of the reform, however, students in Denmark can no longer chose not to transfer credits outside of her main program. At the same time the existing requirements for supplying courses to enroll on a MA in a different subject area will be abolished. In total, the reform seems to introduce a new notion of progression, in which speed is prior to continuity as well as freedom of choice, which was formerly understood in a formative manner as the possibility to fail and re-opt. In the paper, I discuss if these changes will actually make the students complete their studies more quickly and make them more fit for the labour market like the Danish government presumes? Will this be at the expense of leaving students with fragmented knowledge and superficial understandings as suggested by the critics? And what happens to the dropout rates and the ‘Nordic’ ideals of equal access and social mobility?

The paper sets out from a mixed constructivist approach to policy that aims at exploring different empirical levels. In line with new constructivist theories of policy it is argued that reforms such as the speed up reform is a continuous contestation that must be studied at various sites (Shore and Wright 2011). In the paper I pick up this tradition by comparing the current national policy documents, national survey material on the students’ reactions (my own research) and student interviews (also my own research).
Publikationsdato20 sep. 2014
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 20 sep. 2014
Udgivet eksterntJa
BegivenhedNordic Fields of Higher Education: Nordic model at times of crisis – what is at stake? - Litteraturhuset | Oslo | Norway, Oslo, Norge
Varighed: 8 okt. 20149 okt. 2014
Konferencens nummer: 1


KonferenceNordic Fields of Higher Education
LokationLitteraturhuset | Oslo | Norway

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