No more free Danish lessons for international employees

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Free Danish courses will no longer be available to the university’s international employees. This means that AU’s employees will now have to pay up to 10,000 kroner to learn Danish.

2019.02.19 | Miriam Brems

Photo: Colourbox

Facts

The Danish courses that cost 2,000 kroner per module are the official Danish language programme for internationals.

This programme (Danskuddannelse 3) ends with an exam that you can use as proof of your language skills when applying for permanent residency or citizenship.

FVU gives you the same rights as the Danish language programme, including the possibility of applying for permanent residency after passing stage two and for citizenship after passing the fourth and last stage.

Alternatively, it’s possible to take courses that focus on everyday spoken Danish.

At the beginner’s level, these courses cost 1,200 kroner for 40 lessons, and 1,295 at more advanced levels.

These courses do not end with an exam.

Free Danish lessons will no longer be offered to the international employees at the university. Last week, AU was informed that Lærdansk’s free FVU Danish courses at AU will be cancelled. (‘FVU’ stands for ‘Forberedende Voksenundervisning’, preparatory education for adults, ed.)

So from now on, international employees will have to pay 2,000 kroner for each module of Danish lessons they take. A Danish programme typically consists of five modules, which means the total cost will be about 10,000 kroner.

“We’re really sorry that the FVU option won’t be available, at least not to a lot of our employees, because they will no longer be able to take these courses free of charge at AU,” says Anne Pletschette Langer, international coordinator at International Centre’s International Academic Staff Services.

She explains that they haven’t yet received all of the details from Lærdansk on who precisely will be affected by the change, and what the background for it is.

It all started with the tax package

The whole business began in March 2018, when the government and the Danish People's Party agreed on a tax package, financed in part by introducing fees for Danish courses for self-supporting international residents.

READ MORE: International students and employees at AU must pay for tax cuts

The tax package came into force in July last year. But in August, Aarhus University and LærDansk announced that they had figured out a solution for AU’s employees: They could continue to take free Danish lessons if they were at the right proficiency level to take FVU courses. FVU courses are for Danish residents who need to improve their reading and writing skills to help them participate more actively in the labour market, the educational system and civil society, and are financed by the government. Under this system, an international employee could take a beginner’s course for 1,250 kroner. And if they achieved the right proficiency level to enrol in FVU after the beginner’s course, they could continue in the FVU system.

READ MORE: Danish courses for DKK 1,250 instead of DKK 10,000 for international students and employees at AU under new agreement

But it appears that this option is now off the table, and that at least some international employees will have to cough up 10,000 kroner to learn Danish.

Photo: Colourbox

A change in practice

Marianne Jensen, the school superintendent at Lærdansk in Aarhus, says that she is still waiting for more information from the Danish Ministry of Education. But she does know that a change in practice is behind the closure of the FVU courses at AU.

“It means that you’re not in the target audience if you’re not going to be living in Denmark for a longer period of time. And that’s because the focus of the courses is the labour market. For example, if you’re here as a visiting lecturer for six months, then you’re no longer in the target audience,” she explains.

Jensen adds that Lærdansk will continue offering FVU courses at the language school in Aarhus.

“You can apply to participate in these courses if you’re in the target audience. After an interview and a referral, we’ll assess whether you belong to the target audience and are eligible to participate,” she says.

The employees who are currently taking FVU courses at AU will be contacted by Lærdansk and offered alternative courses.

Facts

The Danish courses that cost 2,000 kroner per module are the official Danish language programme for internationals.

This programme (Danskuddannelse 3) ends with an exam that you can use as proof of your language skills when applying for permanent residency or citizenship.

FVU gives you the same rights as the Danish language programme, including the possibility of applying for permanent residency after passing stage two and for citizenship after passing the fourth and last stage.

Alternatively, it’s possible to take courses that focus on everyday spoken Danish.

At the beginner’s level, these courses cost 1,200 kroner for 40 lessons, and 1,295 at more advanced levels.

These courses do not end with an exam.

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