Reviews of National Policies for Education

1990-0198 (online)
1563-4914 (print)
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Reviews of National Policies for Education offer customised, in-depth analysis and advice to assist policy makers in developing and implementing education policy. Individual reviews can focus on a specific policy area, a particular level of education or a country’s entire education system. These reviews are conducted at the request of the country concerned.

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Reviews of National Policies for Education: University Education in Denmark 2005

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01 June 2005
9789264009745 (PDF) ;9789264009738(print)

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This OECD Review of the Danish university system examines such aspects as governance, funding, the Research Council System, the Danish knowledge system, the university system itself, universities' interaction with society, and outcomes.  It finds that training and research is of high quality, but that the system needs to change in response to rapidly changing demands.  A number of recommendations are put forward, particularly in the area of university governance and steering of the system by the government.

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  • Executive Summary
    Reviews of national education policies, conducted by the OECD’s Education Committee, provide a means for member countries to engage their peers in examining education policy issues. In late 2002, the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation invited the Education Committee to undertake an examination of research based universities in the context of lifelong learning. Following a Background Report prepared by the Danish Ministry, a team of OECD examiners visited Demark in May 2003 and prepared a report containing analyses and recommendations. This...
  • Overview of the Danish University System
    This chapter provides a general overview of the Danish university system and an introduction to the structure of Part I of the publication. It describes the historical, geographical and demographic context as well as the jurisdictional control structure of the universities and other tertiary institutions.
  • University Governance
    The general rules of governance of the university sector are outlined in this chapter. It includes a discussion of the legislation governing state-university relations, such as the University Act and the Financial Act, and ministerial orders governing other aspects of university management, such as staffing, education programmes, university development contracts, access and enrolment.
  • Funding of the Universities
    This chapter is devoted to a discussion of sources of university finances. Different features of the Appropriations Act are discussed, including a discussion of the well-known taximeter scheme, which was introduced to improve efficiency in the use of public resources.
  • The Research Council System
    This chapter describes how Denmark allocates resources for research. The structure and roles of various Research Councils are described within the overall research advisory system. Arrangements existing prior to the implementation of the New University Act (2003) provide the context for the changes brought about by the new Act.
  • The Danish Knowledge System
    Denmark spent 2.4% of its GDP on research and development in 2001, of which slightly more than two-thirds came from the private sector. This chapter describes the roles and contributions of the key components of the Danish knowledge generation system, including Denmark’s participation in regional and international networks.
  • University Education
    This chapter discusses two principal dimensions of the Danish university education, one related to the university profile and the other to students. The structure of university programmes and degrees, university pedagogy and internationalisation of university education form the first set of issues. The second set focuses on access and participation in university education, including the grant and loan schemes available to support students.
  • Quality Development and Evaluation of Research
    Quality development in Danish university education and research is discussed in this chapter against the background of the changes proposed by the new University Act. The role of the Danish Evaluation Institute, external examiners and accreditation processes are described in the context of education quality. For research quality, the role of performance indicators and internal quality assurance mechanisms are highlighted.
  • The Universities' Interaction with Society
    Service to society is a key emphasis in the new University Act of Denmark. This chapter describes several aspects of how universities in Denmark interact with society. The role of universities in preparing students for employment and the world of work, the interaction of universities with the business sector (especially in the field of research and innovation), and their contribution to public debate on important social, scientific and public issues form the main themes of the chapter.
  • Introduction and Context
    Chapter 1 of this report describes in detail the context in which Danish universities operate and the contextual factors that need to be considered in developing policies for the universities. This chapter introduces the review process and highlights some contextual elements that the Examiners considered essential for their analyses and observations.
  • Key Themes and Recommendations
    The chapter contains the main body of the examiners’ analyses and recommendations. They are set out under the following eight themes: national strategy and purpose of universities; governance and management; teaching and learning programmes; quality assurance and study completion; organisation and funding of research; internationalisation of Danish education; and benefits to the economy and society.
  • Conclusions
    This concluding chapter provides a brief summary of findings and brings together all the recommendations offered by the team of examiners.
  • Annex
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