Free Universities And No Student Loan Debt Is Hurting Denmark's Economy
...But many, in both industry and politics, feel it's become a free lunch that's giving indigestion to Scandinavia's already weakest economy.
Too many pursue "fulfilment" and too few the science and engineering degrees needed in well-paid growth sectors critical for the nation's future, they say.
Typical is 23-year-old Ali Badreldin, who is enrolled at the Royal Danish Academy of Music to become a saxophone player. "Music was always part of my life growing up so it was a natural choice," he said.
His courses are free and he gets a monthly stipend of 5,839 DKK (782 euros, $1,074) in a system where class sizes are rarely limited.
The result has Denmark spending more proportionally on education than any other country in the OECD club of 34 advanced nations.
Yet biotech firms like Novozymes say they cannot find enough engineers.
Engineering opportunities have soared in recent years in Denmark, but its youth have shunned the sector, with only one-third the OECD average contemplating an engineering career amid top-heavy enrolment in arts and humanities programmes....
...They point to "Lazy Robert", or Robert Nielsen, an erstwhile student of social sciences, philosophy and Chinese, now 45, who shot to notoriety after proudly stating on TV that he prefers living off social benefits than taking a job he didn't find "meaningful"....