Education in Denmark

Education in Denmark

Education in Denmark is compulsory for children aged approximately 7-16. These nine years of compulsory education is called the "Folkeskole" ("public school"). About 82% of young people take further education in addition to this.Danmarks Radio: "S ønsker mindst 12 års skolegang" ("Social Democrats want at least 12 years of education")] Government-funded education is usually free of charge and open to everyone.

The chief national officer of the education system is Education Minister Bertel Haarder (Liberal Party). However, universities are the responsibility of Helge Sander, Minister of Science, Technology and Development (same party).

Literacy in Denmark is approximately 99% for both men and women. [2003 estimate; according to CIA World Factbook:]

Recently, some political parties (e.g. Social Democrats and Liberal Alliance) have advocated extending the time of compulsory education from nine to twelve years. [ [ Netavisen - Ny Alliance præsenterede alt godt fra havet ] ]


The Danish education system has its origin in the cathedral- and monastery schools established by the Roman Catholic Church in the early Middle Ages, and seven of the schools established in the 12th and 13th centuries still exist today. After the Reformation, which was officially implemented in 1536, the schools were taken over by the Crown. Their main purpose was to prepare the students for theological studies by teaching them to read, write and speak Latin and Greek.

Popular elementary education was at that time still very primitive, but in 1721, 240 "rytterskoler" ("cavalry schools") were established throughout the kingdom. Moreover, the religious movement of Pietism, spreading in the 18th century, required some level of literacy, thereby promoting the need for public education. The philanthropic thoughts of such people as Rousseau also helped spur developments in education open to all children.

In 1809, the old Clergyman's School was transformed in accordance with the spirit of the time into a humanistic Civil Servant's School which was to "foster true humanity" through immersion in the ancient Greek and Latin cultures combined with some teaching of natural science and modern languages.

Throughout the 19th century (and even up until today), the Danish education system was especially influenced by the ideas of clergyman, politician and poet Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig, who advocated inspiring methods of teaching and the foundation of folk high schools.

In 1871, the scientific and technical development of the 19th century led to a division of the secondary education into two lines: the languages and the mathematics-science line. This division was the backbone of the structure of the Gymnasium (i.e. academic general upper secondary education programme) until the year 2005.

In 1894, the "Folkeskole" ("public school", the government-funded primary education system) was formally established (until then, it had been known as "Almueskolen" ("common school")), and measures were taken to improve the education system to meet the requirements of industrial society.

In 1903, the 3-year course of the Gymnasium was directly connected the municipal school through the establishment of the "mellemskole" ('middle school', grades 6-9), which was later on replaced by the "realskole". Previously, students wanting to go to the Gymnasium (and thereby obtain qualification for admission to university) had to take private tuition or similar means as the municipal schools were insufficient.

In 1975, the "realskole" was abandoned and the "Folkeskole" (primary education) transformed into an egalitarian system where pupils go to the same schools regardless of their academic merits.


The first university in Denmark, University of Copenhagen, was established in 1479. The second, University of Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, was established in 1665. When Schleswig-Holstein was conquered by German forces in 1864, the University of Copenhagen was once again the only university in the Kingdom of Denmark and remained so until 1928 when the University of Aarhus was founded. Since then, numerous universities have been established. In addition, there are many independent colleges specializing for instance in educating teachers.

The tuition-less system

Because the politics of Denmark are based on a welfare-state model, almost all educational institutes in Denmark are free. This tuition-less system applies to:
* Those who have been born in Denmark as 'national Danes'
* Those who hold a permanent resident visa
* Those who hold a humanitarian visa
* Those from the Nordic Council
* Those from the European Economic Area or European Union.

To further assist students in Denmark, all Danish citizens (and many others meeting certain criteria) are offered a bursary, called "SU" ("Statens Uddannelsesstøtte" which translates to "The State's Educational Support"), which totals about DKK 2,412 monthly if the student lives with his/her parents or former guardians, and about DKK 5,007 monthly if the student lives away from his/her parents or former guardians.

Students can supplement the SU with student loans amounting to DKK 2562 per month, which must be paid back upon the completition of their education.


Today, education in Denmark is broken down into five age groups:

* Pre-School Education
* Folkeskole Education
* Secondary Education
** Gymnasium
** Higher Preparatory Examination (HF)
** Higher Commercial Examination Programme
** Higher Technical Examination Programme (HTX)
** Vocational secondary education
* Higher Education (see also List of universities in Denmark)
* Adult Education


See also

*Danish Folkeskole Education – Historical Overview
*Gymnasium with information on the Gymnasium school type
*History of the Danish Gymnasium
*Secondary education in Denmark with a historical overview of the different types of secondary education
*Grundtvig's thinking on education

External links

* [ Danish Ministry of Education "(Undervisningsministeriet)"]
* [ Study in Denmark - The official government site for advice on study in Denmark"(CIRIUS)"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Secondary education in Denmark — The Education in Denmark series Pre School Primary education (Folkeskole) Secondary education Higher Education Adult Education Types of secondary education: Gymnasium Higher Preparatory Examination Higher Commercial Examination Programme Higher… …   Wikipedia

  • Vocational secondary education in Denmark — ( da. erhvervsuddannelse) takes place at special state funded vocational schools ( erhvervsskoler ), most of which are either technical schools ( tekniske skoler ) or business colleges ( handelsskoler ). Through a combination of teaching in… …   Wikipedia

  • Denmark — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Denmark (disambiguation). Denmark Danmark …   Wikipedia

  • Denmark — /den mahrk/, n. a kingdom in N Europe, on the Jutland peninsula and adjacent islands. 5,268,775; 16,576 sq. mi. (42,930 sq. km). Cap.: Copenhagen. * * * Denmark Introduction Denmark Background: Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major… …   Universalium

  • Education Minister of Denmark — The Education in Denmark series Pre School Primary education (Folkeskole) Secondary education Higher Education Adult Education Types of secondary education: Gymnasium Higher Preparatory Examination Higher Commercial Examination Programme Higher… …   Wikipedia

  • EDUCATION — The Jewish people has an educational tradition as old as history (see Education, Jewish ). From the very beginning of their identification as a distinct entity, Jews have contributed not only to the advancement of their own education, but also to …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Denmark–Zambia relations — Denmark Zambia relations Denmark …   Wikipedia

  • Denmark–Nepal relations — Denmark Nepal relations Denmark …   Wikipedia

  • Denmark — • History includes politics, religion, literary, and art Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Denmark     Denmark     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Education in Finland — Ministry of Education and Culture Minister of Education and Science Minister of Culture and Sport Jukka Gustafsson Paavo Arhinmäki National education budget (2009) Budget …   Wikipedia