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Sharp drop in number of foreigners taking Danish language courses

29.04.2019  16:22
Since July 1 last year, foreigners interested in learning Danish have been required to pay at least 2,000 kroner per module unless they are a refugee or a dependent family member being reunited. 

Typically, a student needs to complete six modules to complete the course at a total cost of 12,000.
New figures reveal that since the fees were introduced, a lot fewer internationals are taking Danish lessons.

According to figures compiled by DR from the Danskuddannelsesdatabasen, the first half of 2018 saw 22,328 people on Danish courses. When the new law came in, the number fell by more than 10,000 for the second half of the year.

Hitting hard
“This equates to the closure of a large factory. People are just not willing to pay for Danish lessons. It really is a catastrophe,” Betina Johansson, the head of the AOF Job and Dansk course centre in Esbjerg, told DR Nyheder.

The centre in Esbjerg has had to dismiss 30 employees and close branches in two towns because there are so few students.

It is especially international students who are dropping Danish lessons, mainly because many of them are on tight budgets and just can’t make the money stretch far enough if they have to pay.

Penny wise, pound foolish
The Dansk Erhverv business interest group points out that charging fees could end up being a very expensive mistake.

“Denmark already spends a lot of money giving international students a free education, and it is a great pity that we don’t give them the last little push so that they learn Danish and can get a job in Denmark,” said the organisation’s head of education and research, Mads Eriksen. “This is what’s needed to keep them here in the country and paying taxes,” he added.

Foreign freeloaders?
Dansk Folkeparti – one of the main proponents of the measure – believes the figures show foreigners simply don’t want to become part of Danish society. “There are foreigners coming to Denmark who just don’t want to have anything to do with it because as soon as they have to dig into their own pockets, they can’t be bothered,” said the party’s immigration spokesperson, Martin Henriksen.


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