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Slow Shift—Developing Provisions for Talented Students in Scandinavian Higher Education

Research Centre for Talent Development in Higher Education and Society, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, Room H0.82, Zernikeplein 11, 9747 AS, Groningen, The Netherlands
Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Steven I. Pfeiffer
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(3), 31;
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 30 August 2016 / Accepted: 6 September 2016 / Published: 10 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Gifted and Talented and Creativity Research)
PDF [219 KB, uploaded 10 September 2016]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: talent development; higher education; honors programs; excellence; Scandinavia; Denmark talent development; higher education; honors programs; excellence; Scandinavia; Denmark
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Wolfensberger, M.; Hogenstijn, M. Slow Shift—Developing Provisions for Talented Students in Scandinavian Higher Education. Educ. Sci. 2016, 6, 31.

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