“Teachers must accept that school managers have the right to arrange how work is organised, as is the case in all other workplaces,” writes conservative daily Berlingske, in opinion piece on the dispute between the Danish state and 69,000 teachers and municipal authorities. On April 2, students were left locked out of school as a consequence of the deadlock.

The main issue in the dispute is the question of class preparation time, which is up for renegotiation. Under the terms of a previous agreement, which has recently expired, teachers gave a maximum of 25 hours of classes per week to allow adequate time for preparation.

However, municipal and state authorities are now arguing that school managers should be allowed to make more flexible use of their teachers,– and even have the option of asking them to spend more time in class.

For Politiken, it is vitally important that the good aspects of Danish schools should not be undermined by the conflict —

All too often when we criticise Danish schools, we forget just how well they actually work. We forget that unlike children in many other countries, Danish children are very happy to go to school. We forget that Danish schools produce innovative students, with independent minds. And we forget that motivated and committed teachers are vital to the functioning of these schools.

In contrast, liberal daily Jyllands-Posten points out that 18 per cent of students leave school (at age 16, just before senior high school) without passing final exams in maths and Danish, and concludes: “It is high time that teachers woke up to the intellectual poverty that they have helped create.