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Education System and Institutions in Denmark - An Overview

Excellence in education and learning at all levels is indispensable if one wants to be competitive in today’s globalised world. This in turn makes education a main concern in Denmark. With their world-class academic standards together with innovative learning tactics, the Danish institutions are grooming their students to play a dynamic role in a globalised, knowledge-based culture.
In Denmark, it is compulsory for all to receive 9 years’ education, obtaining a certain minimum standard. It is a matter of choice for the parents whether they provide education to their child:
  • in the openly provided civic primary and lower secondary schools, 
  • in a private school, or 
  • at home.

Levels of Education in Denmark

Education system in Denmark is divided into 
  1. Pre-School
  2. Primary and Lower Secondary Education
  3. Upper Secondary Education
  4. Vocational Education and Training 
  5. Higher Education 
  6. Adult Learning
Pre-School 
Most of the children in Denmark attend day care from one to six years of age, after which compulsory education begins. All day care is managed by municipalities and local authorities. The daycare services include nurseries, creche, private family day cares (0 to 3 years), kindergartens (3 to 6 years), and integrated institutions (0 to 6 years).
Pre-school is optional and is followed by 9 years of compulsory education in the primary and lower secondary school. There is also a tenth form which is optional.

Primary and Lower Secondary:
The primary and lower secondary schools, aka Folkeskole in Denmark, offer schooling for children aged 6 to 16. The Folkeskole comprises of nine years of primary and lower secondary education and an optional 10th Year. 
These schools equip students with academic qualifications and prepare them for their roles as civilians in a democratic culture. The schools work strictly with parents, and build their approach on child-centered learning.

Upper Secondary Education
There are four diverse upper secondary educational programmes in Denmark including STX, HHX, HTX and HF. The major objective of the education programmes is, of course, to prepare students for higher education, and in that link ensure that they get hold of knowledge, general education, and proficiency by means of the subjects they examine and the live interaction between the students.

Vocational Education and Training
Vocational education and training in Denmark occurs at special state-furnished vocational schools, most of which are either business colleges (handelsskoler) or technical schools (tekniske skoler). Through a blend of teaching in such schools and apprenticeship, generally in private companies, students are educated and trained for work as clerks, tradesmen, farmers etc.

Higher Education
Higher education consists of university sector, which offers research-based undergraduate and graduate curriculum, as well as a corresponding sector for professional diploma programs and more business-oriented courses. Most of the higher education institutions offer curriculum in English, and at graduate level various English programs such as MBA and MPA are offered.

Adult Education
Danish Adult Education is plainly divided into two subgroups:
  1. Formal Adult Education, consisting of both vocational and general Adult Education and finalizing with formal exams
  2. Non-formal Adult Education, focusing on individual choice, building on the traditions of Grundtvig, and characterised by NGO-organisation and no exams and grades

Undergraduate Degrees in Denmark

This includes Academy Profession Degree which lasts for about 2 years and involves 120 ECTS. The degree can be obtained from an Academy of Professional Higher Education or a University College. It incorporates theory and practice in a single program. This degree also involves internships within the country or in foreign locations. This program is industry oriented and it has been developed in close collaboration with businesses. This program has small class size and involves frequent and close interaction between teachers and students. 

Professional Bachelor's degree is of 3 to 4 years duration and it involves 180 to 240 ECTS. This is a degree which is obtained from a university college or academy of professional higher education. It is aimed at certain professions. It also involves domestic and foreign internships as well as theory and practice.

University Bachelor's Degree is a 3 year course with 180 ECTS. It is a research based program which involves a degree from a university. This program is mostly theory based though students can take study periods or internships abroad. This is a degree obtained from a university and it is chiefly theoretical in nature. Students can opt for study periods or internships abroad. It includes independent studies as well as important project work.

Postgraduate Degrees

Master's degree is a 2 year course with about 120 ECTS. This is a degree from a university and it incorporates research based education. With opportunities for internships in Denmark and abroad, and exchange chances in universities across the world, such Master's courses also offer access to PhD studies or the labour market.

PhD degree lasts for 3 years long and involves 180 ECTS. This degree is granted from a university or research institution. Research and teaching opportunities in Denmark are also offered through this course. International experience and cooperation are also provided as is financial support.

Higher Educational Institutions in Denmark

Danish higher education has combined academic excellence with innovation in research and teaching. Some of the top features of Danish higher education include high academic standards, interdisciplinary studies as well as project based activities. There is an active and motivated learning environment as well. Many higher education institutions in Denmark are closely involved in cooperation with leading businesses, firms and research organisations.

Denmark's higher education institutions are perfect for international students. A recent survey conducted by the Danish government with responses from nearly 3,500 international students has found that 78% of the students have positive recommendations for Denmark as a study destination. Around 93% consider Denmark to be a safe country to reside in.

Denmark's universities offer undergraduate, master's and PhD programs in several academic areas. This includes traditional and technical universities and institutions with research and educational emphasis such as business and IT.
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