Save Our Schools - Our Success Is Denmark’s Strength!
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Københavns Sprogcenter, Studieskolen and IA Sprog recently lost the bid to remain offering Danish classes to adult foreigners. The Kommune has decided to close these three well-established language schools, so that a cheaper (and therefore substandard) education can be provided by two remaining language schools. The discontinuation of module classes at these three schools, as well as introducing a charge - a deposit and a fee per module - to all self-supporting foreigners will mean far less people have access to Danish lessons.
Countless students - both current and prospective students - will no longer have access to the high quality of free education that Copenhagen has been offering for years. From 1 August 2018, the Kommune have decided that they will support module classes being offered at only two schools - the two who won the bid to offer education as cheaply as possible. Cheap education is not quality education.
Shamefully, this also means nearly 300 teachers, administrative staff, managerial staff, and other staff members have, and will, lose their jobs. The teachers, many who have amounted years and years of experience, teaching face to face and online, are being treated like their value and contribution is not at all appreciated by the Kommune. Københavns Sprogcenter comes with over 25 years of quality experience, while Studieskolen has 40 years experience.
With this, the future of Danish language education, as well as Danish society, looks bleak: not only will staff and students be negatively affected now, but many thousands in the future will, too.
THE CURRENT RESULT: It is clear to us that the effect of this decision will lead to disaster.
An obvious prediction, for staff members and students alike, is mass unemployment. Teaching jobs in Copenhagen are few and far between, and for immigrants to Denmark, jobs are not offered to anyone without a strong grasp of the Danish language.
Choosing ‘cheap’ over ‘quality’ also has an obvious result: cheap products and services do not last, and it will therefore be more expensive in the long run. The result of closing three language schools, forcing the two ‘cheapest’ schools to overflow with students, and forcing many not to take lessons at all, will result in a lack of integration. This will surely be the downfall of Copenhagen.
To reduce education of language to the cheapest is insulting to the culture of Denmark. By choosing the two cheapest schools, they will be forced to offer substandard education as a result, and be bursting at the seams with all the new students they are about to receive. Waiting lists will be lengthy, forcing many students to take unwanted breaks in their Danish language lessons. In order to learn a new language efficiently, continuous lessons are the most the most effective method. Pauses and breaks in students’ Danish education will delay their progression.
On top of that, the two ‘cheap’ schools have little experience in offering online teaching. Online classes are a necessity for many students. It will take a long time before the two remaining schools can build up the experience the other schools have in this area, and before they will be able to offer as thorough, and as tried-and-tested online courses as, for example, Københavns Sprogcenter can.
Even in the short term, the transition period can only be fraught with problems, with uncertainty and confusion rife amongst staff and immigrants. Two overflowing schools with lengthy waiting lists and substandard education is, clearly, utterly inefficient and will have severe long term consequences.
Access to the most important means of social integration - language - should be accessible to all. The consequences of a lack of social integration are only negative, especially in the long-term. A fast-track way to integrate is to learn the language of the country one has moved to. This, in turn, also helps with identity integration, which will lead to social and economic integration. A lack of social integration will lead to social exclusion and social fragmentation. Without being able to speak the language, a social network cannot be formed, employment cannot be found and an understanding of the culture may not be fully understood. We must all speak the same language in order to understand one another - and to coexist peacefully as a collective, harmonious culture. The decision, as it stands, carries with it a feeling of social exclusion. Shutting down language schools suggests immigrants to Denmark are not wanted.
Clearly, nobody wins in the current situation - to think only of money over the consequences to Danes and foreigners alike is simply appalling.
We think the most important problem is that Københavns Kommune focussed mainly on price during the tender process and not much on quality. We think it’s incorrect that they ended up giving tender to two schools that had been offering an extremely low price, with all the negative consequences this might have for the students and the field of study as such. This decision hereby destroyed three well-established schools with lots of professional experience and infrastructure.
THE SOLUTION: If politicians and kommune personnel value the Danish language as much as we, the staff and students, do, surely they want to keep it alive and well? Immigrants integrating and contributing to Danish society works in both the immigrants’ favour as well as Denmark’s favour. The more welcome we are, the easier it is to accomplish.
Therefore the solution is save our schools, so that there is space for everyone to access Danish language classes, at a high standard everyone can be proud of, and therefore immigrants can integrate into Danish society so much more easily. During the competition period, the three schools facing unjust closure have proved that they are able to provide a high quality of education despite cutting down hugely on costs. Reward their efforts by letting them continue to do so.
Once the schools close there is no going back.
Please note that there will be a meeting at Copenhagen town hall, on Thursday 5 April at 4 o’clock. All political parties will be invited to participate in a discussion about this problem. Students from each language school, friends, dogs, children and parents are invited to come along.
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