Copenhagen: Taking Muslim schools as an example

25% of bilingual children in Copenhagen go to a Muslim private school, where the students - taking their social background into account - get pretty good results.  Now the municipal schools will learn from the private schools, since they get better scores than the Copenhagen munciipal schools with many bilingual kids.

Søren Hegnby of the office for integration at the municipal youth service says that they will learn what the schools do.  He had supervised some of the Muslim schools and has found that they demand much more from their students regarding effort and behavior.

Data from the municipality's 16 schools with the most bilingual students shows that the ten Muslim schools' grade average in 2002-2006 was 7.39-8.36, while the six public schools had an average of 7.18-7.29 .  Søren Hegnby thinks that the free-schools succeed with what Danes consider old-fashioned pedagogic methods.

Søren Hegnby says he thinks they should weigh if the most progressive pedagogic methods in public schools mainly fit children of ethnic minorities or Danish working-class children.  Some modern pedagogic methods fit the Danish "Cafe Latte Segment" because they take the middle-class world view as a starting point.

Annette Ihle of Copenhagen University has researched Muslims schools and points out that the students meet high demands in the schools.  Teachers have high expectations from their students.  

Education minister Bertel Haarder has both good and bad things to say about the Muslim private schools.  Some of them score very high in the academic subjects, but there are others that don't and some had to be closed down, so the picture is very complex.

He adds that several school principals of Copenhagen schools have complained that the students they get from Muslim private schools are at such a low level that they must be pushed down a grade.

In Copenhagen 25% of bilingual kids of a non-Western background go to a Muslim private school.  The demand for the schools is rising and several report long waiting lists.

Durmus Bilge, head of the Turkish Sjælland private school says that the school balances between Danish and Turkish school traditions . Some of the methods are not current practice in Danish public schools.  For example, students get cash prizes and diplomas for doing well at school and socially.

Source: Berlingske Tidende (Danish)

See also: Denmark: Muslim school popular

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