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The Nordic student democracy model Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Raymond M. Kristiansen, Denmark Jun 18, 2002
Education , Human Rights   Opinions


Having been involved in a European network of students from 19 different countries, I have had some experiences regarding cultural differences in not only the way university students are involved in activism, but also in how the university administration responds in different countries.

In this short article, I will be exploring the "Nordic Model" of student democracy. By pointing to not only the legal framework and structure of the student democracy, but also how it communicates with the University and local/national community, I hope to be able to shed some light on this model, which is quite different from, for instance, the southern european model.

With the term student democracy I mean the organising of students attending a college/university in a 'Student Union' (SU) or similar centralised body. The role of the SU as some sort of student government are several.

The most important role, however, is that the SU is an arena for students to raise their voices and be heard. The issues touched upon could be ranging from the curriculum of the different subjects to how the funding of higher education could be improved on a national level.

The way in which a student democracy could be done is as varied as the democratic model in different countries. Some places students are invited to elect their representatives in a yearly ballot, other places the university administration chooses students of their liking to be official student 'representatives'.

The Nordic model, which I will cover in this article, is a model based on the following principles:

* Yearly general elections of a student council/senate.
* An executive board of the Student Union whose members are having a 'sabattical year', meaning that they are excused from their studies in this year.
* Funding of the student democracy from students paying a small amount of Student Union fees, or directly sponsored by the university.
* Student involvement in all decision-making university boards/councils protected by law.
* Even though there are several student organisations, created because of political, religious or other reasons, there is only one official student union recognised by the university.



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Raymond M. Kristiansen

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Ha Thi Lan Anh | Jun 18th, 2002
but is this a disucssion thread or an article? anywaz waiting for the next chapter impatiently ;)

Raymond M. Kristiansen | Jun 19th, 2002
it IS an article, it's main goal is to inform about a certain topic. But, of course, I hope that it will spur some discussion/questions.

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