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Sunday, August 16, 2015

DENMARK - Young minister wants to prioritise the elite

"The new Minister of Higher Education and Science Esben Lunde Larsen is on a mission to ‘cultivate the elite’." reports Jan Petter Myklebust.
Photo: Esben Lunde Larsen

In an interview with the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende Larsen recently said that although Denmark had the most favourable student financial support system in the world, the system should be adjusted so that students could study for more hours per week during the term, and to treat elite students preferentially.

”The elite have not to a sufficient degree been prioritised in our education system,” he declared.

”Danish students shall not be treated like a grey mass without differences in talents or ambition levels. To a larger degree we will point at the leaders who have outstanding abilities and talents and offer them specific training at a higher level than their peers.”

Lunde Larsen (36) was appointed to his post in the Liberal Løkke Rasmussen government in late June, removing ‘innovation’ from the portfolio of the previous Social Democratic ministry.

Research and science ministers with a PhD are rare in Scandinavia. The last one who comes to mind is Gudmund Hernes in Norway (1990-95). But Lunde Larsen holds a masters degree in theology and a PhD from Copenhagen University.

A former teacher, a post-doc and a regional politician, for two years he also chaired the Board of the Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme, or SU – presiding over the above-mentioned financial support system.

The minister is from the so-called ‘Bible-belt’ in the Ringkøbing area, where he received 11,000 personal votes, and the media has tried to allude to him as a kind of religious fundamentalist.
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Source: University World News