'University' for ages six to 16

26th April 1996 at 01:00
DENMARK. A derelict factory in Vesterbro, a run-down suburb of Copenhagen, is to become a "children's university" where pupils aged from six to 16 will work together and such terms as "school", "teaching", "subjects" and "classes" will be taboo.

The idea, according to Thorleif Frokaer, a lecturer at Kobenhavns Dag-og Aftenseminarium teachers' training college, and founder of the children's university, will allow pupils to ask questions rather than simply be given answers.

He said: "The children will work together across age barriers in a project-orientated process. A six-year-old may be so impressed by a 10-year-old's ability to read that he wants to learn to read, and the 10-year-old may re-learn drawing from the six-year-old."

Lars-Barner Rasmussen, an assistant professor in educational theory and a supporter of the scheme, said: "The best learning occurs in cross-disciplinary projects where children are faced with a problem. They may say, 'That's strange, how does it work?' and then take a closer look. But they will not be bound by the age-old label of subjects and sciences."

The university will open in August. It will be full-time from 8am to 5pm, and will charge fees.

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