Slow shift: developing provisions for talented students in Scandinavian higher education

Marca Wolfensberger, Maarten Hogenstijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


For decades, Scandinavian culture effectively prohibited the development of special provisions for talented students in higher education. However, in recent years, a cultural shift has gradually made more room for excellence and talent development in the national discourses. This paper analyzes the climate for talent development in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Following a first inventory of honors programs in Scandinavian higher education in which the only programs were found in Denmark, 10 experts were interviewed to analyze their national situation and reflect on the leading role of Denmark. In this country, external incentives, focus on quality, pioneers, and an open atmosphere were found to produce a culture more appreciative of excellence over the last decade. Starting from the Danish experience, the situation in Norway and Sweden is analyzed, showing that the combination of factors leading to change in Denmark is not yet present here. Lessons for other countries are highlighted, notably the importance of sharing information and exchanging knowledge at an international level.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2016


  • talent development
  • higher education
  • honors programs
  • excellence
  • scandinavia
  • denmark


Dive into the research topics of 'Slow shift: developing provisions for talented students in Scandinavian higher education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this