Small primary schools facing the axe in Denmark

teacherEight out of ten primary schools in Denmark could face closure or mergers if the government follows recommendations made by an expert panel. According to the country’s School Travel Team, over 1,000 primary schools are too small.

The panel maintains that educational facilities should have a minimum of 600 pupils or at least three classes in each year, meaning that 1,277 schools in Denmark (83 percent) would be deemed to be of an inadequate size. According to the ministry, children in less populated schools get lower grades and require more remedial classes, costing the government extra.

Marlene Harpsoe, chairwoman of the parliamentary committee for education, said she disagrees with the organisation’s advice. “I do not see any reason why schools can’t function even if they have fewer than 600 pupils,” said the Danish People’s Party MP in a report by the Copenhagen Post. She added that she felt rural areas would suffer from school closures.

Social Democrat spokeswoman Christine Antorini was also sceptical, saying the government should not interfere with decisions usually made by local authorities. “I find it hard to believe that each primary school has to have exactly three classes,” she said.

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