The relocation agreement is now in place: AU has succeeded in keeping relocations and cuts under six percent of student places
A broad parliamentary majority has just signed off on the relocation agreement. Some of the highlights of the agreement where AU is concerned include a new veterinary medicine programme in Foulum and increased funding for the dentistry programme. A total of 6.4 percent of student places nationwide will be either relocated or cut; for AU, the total is somewhat lower, at 5.6 percent.
Higher educational institutions in Denmark have been tasked with relocating or cutting 6.4 of their student intake by 2030, which means that over 4,000 student places will either be relocated or cut by 2030.
This was the result of the agreement between the government and a coalition of parties concluded on Tuesday morning that finalised the details of the relocation agreement adopted in June 2021.
At Aarhus University, the agreement means that about 5.6 percent of student places will either be relocated or cut entirely.
Vets in Foulum and more dentists in Aarhus
According to the agreement, AU is to establish a campus for agricultural sciences and food in Foulum east of Viborg. It will be possible to train as a veterinarian here. Today, the only veterinary programme in Denmark is located in Copenhagen.
AU will be given DKK 122mill in research funding for the veterinary programme in Foulum. This money will come from a planned vaccine collaboration with Israel and Austria that the government has decided to scrap.
Originally, the coalition behind the agreement has also planned to establish a new dentistry programme in Hjørring. However, establishment costs turned out to be higher than anticipated, so the plan has been shelved.
Instead, the coalition has earmarked DKK 165mill to support an expansion of existing dentistry programmes at AU and UCPH; DKK 40mill of these funds will be used to make it possible to follow some parts of the dentistry programme in areas of the country with a shortage of dentists.
According to the agreement, the coalition parties “find it positive” that AU continues to subsidize small humanities subjects of special national importance, while encouraging the university to increase its presence as an educational institution at more locations around Denmark.
“The parties to the agreement encourage AU to continue to take steps to incorporate regional elements (including residence halls and facilities for university students outside the major cities) for a wide range of students on technical degree programmes, and in this way increase the institution’s presence with students at more locations in the country,” the agreement reads.
Higher education minister: We are taking responsibility for the shrinking youth population
In a press release, Minister for Higher Education and Science Jesper Petersen (Social Democrats) states that the agreement represents parliament taking “responsibility for ensuring that the shrinking youth population does not lead to further centralisation and closure of degree programmes”.
“With this agreement, we will continue to have strong universities in the largest cities, and more good educational opportunities will be established in all parts of the country. To the benefit of the young and their opportunities, but also for local businesses and the quality of local social and welfare services,” states Petersen.
According to the coalition behind the agreement, educational institutions submitted reasonable proposals that the concrete plans “should take as their point of departure as a rule”.
“The parties thus find that generally speaking, the institutions have submitted proposals in line with the political intentions in the agreement,” the agreement reads.
Socialist People’s Party: The final agreement is better than the most concerning scenarios
Astrid Carøe, education spokesperson for the Socialist People’s Party, has stated that the final agreement has ended up better than the most concerning scenarios.
“Instead, we’ve landed at around 6 percent, which means considerably fewer cutbacks, but still more new degree programmes close to young people outside the major cities. It was a high priority for us to ensure that the degree programmes that will be established are adequately funded, and they are. What’s more, we’ve also protected small subjects and language subjects and have agreed to monitor developments closely,” stated Carøe.
Danish Confederation of Professional Associations: The parties have listened
The agreement earmarks DKK 805mill for establishment and development through 2028, in addition to a permanent DKK 413mill funding increase. The increase will finance an increase in decentral basic funding for existing and new degree programmes and a new regional taximeter scheme.
According to the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC), the coalition behind the agreement have listened to the universities and unions, who warned against cutting too many student places.
“Our opposition to the relocation agreement is no secret. For the same reason, I’m pleased that the parties have listened to AC and others with concerns about the quality of research groups and degree programmes, among other issues, and that agreement was reached to remove some of the most damaging proposals in the original agreement,” states AC chair Lisbeth Lintz in a press release
Facts: AU’s proposal for relocation and closure of student places
In January 2022, AU’s final plan for the implementation of the relocation agreement called for the relocation or closure of student places corresponding to 6 percent of intake in 2019.
Closure of student places
AU expects to cut 819 student places in Aarhus and Emdrup.
Over a 2019 baseline, AU would have been required to cut 330 places. But it’s necessary to cut an addition 489 student places because the university has increased its intake by this amount since then.
Relocation and new degree programmes
In the draft that was made available for internal consultation at AU in 2021, ‘relocations’ and ‘new programmes’ were combined under the heading ‘relocations’, and the number proposed was 415 student places. This number only included the places that would count as a reduction of student places in the major cities.
In the institutional plan, the ministry subsequently asked the universities to be more specific and to categorise all places as either ‘relocations’ or ‘new programmes’. The total number of combined ‘relocations’ and ‘new programmes’ in AU’s final plan thus includes 120 more student places than the number of‘relocations’ proposed in the draft. This is because the university is allocating 190 student places to ‘new programmes’, while there are 70 fewer student places under ‘relocations’.
The extra 120 student places aren’t included in the reductions in student places in the major cities, so they have no significance in regard to the 6 percent reduction.
AU has proposed to close the following degree programmes:
- Diaconia, MA
- Cognitive semiotics, MA
- Political science, MSc (in English)
- Social science (BSc and MSc) – It is proposed to merge these two programmes with political science
- Business languages and business communication, MA
- Nursing, MSc (Emdrup)
- Agro Environmental Management, MSc
- Read the universities’ institutional plans (in Danish)
- Read Universities Denmark’s sectoral plan (in Danish)
Source: The senior management team