Structure of Education System

In Denmark, basic education is obligatory for all; however there is no compulsion for parents to ensure child is present at school. 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.
The general upper secondary school mainly grooms children for higher education, while vocational education and training mainly aims at grooming young individuals for a career in trade or commerce.The education is Denmark has been established under the auspices of the Danish Ministry for Education. 

Denmark's Education system is well-defined and is divided into: 
  • Pre-School
  • Primary and Lower Secondary Education
  • Upper Secondary Education
  • Vocational Education and Training 
  • Higher Education 
  • Adult Learning

School Education in Denmark

Most of the kids in Denmark attend day care from one to six years of age, right after which compulsory education begins. Pre-school is elective and is followed by 9 years of compulsory education in the primary and lower secondary school. 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).

Basic education in Denmark includes primary and lower secondary education. It lasts for nine or ten years. The tenth year is optional. Following the completion of the 9th or 10th standard of the Folkeskole, the pupils move onto upper secondary school. This is a 3 year gymnasium programme which is upper secondary program. Students who make the grade in general upper secondary school step towards the higher education.

Vocational Education and Training

More vocationally-oriented programmes including  "Hojere Handelseksamen" (HHX) and "Hojere Teknisk Eksamen" (HTX) enable students to access higher education as well as employment in industry and trade. This is generally in training positions. Vocational programmes include Erhvervsuddannelse/Vocational Education and Training or VET and these ensure that students are able to access specific jobs. Along with this, most VET programmes enable students to get direct admission to one or even more short-cycle professional programmes for higher education.

Around 30 to 50 percent of time allocated for these lessons is spent at school whereas 50-70% is spent as a trainee/apprentice in business enterprises. Other vocational programmes include basic social and health education programmes. Also included are agricultural, forestry, home economics and maritime programmes.
All educational activities are mostly under the Ministry of Education. The control of the Gymnasium and Hojere Forberedelseseksamen is shared by the Ministry of Education with country councils or course boards. The responsibility of setting up the framework for curricula at both primary and secondary level is also with the ministry. Course contents are established by the schools along with their boards and finalized by teachers along with the students. The Ministry of Education also controls vocational education and training in partnership with social parties.

Higher Education in Denmark

Higher education system includes a university and college sector namely the professionally-oriented higher education sector. There are 12 universities within the university sector. 5 of these are multi-faculty universities. Other specializations include engineering, education, IT, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, agriculture or business studies. Along with this, there are 13 specialist university level institutions in areas such as art, music and architecture.

Programmes are also offered at 3 levels within the university sector:
  • Bachelor's degree: 3 years of study
  • Candidatus degree: Master's degree 2 years following the completion of the bachelor's degree
  • PhD degree: around 3 years' study following the Candidatus degree.
Universities also awarded the traditional higher Doctoral Degree which includes dr., phil.,dr. scient. and so on. This is following 5 to 8 years after the individual and original research.

Research based study programmes are also found within the university sector. There are around 100 specialized higher education institutions in the college sector which offer professionally oriented programmes:

The Academy Profession Degree (AP degree)

The Danish title is Profession AK and it is warded following 2 years of study. It has a total of 120 ECTS points.

Professional Bachelor's Degree

This degree is awarded following 3 to 4 and a half years of study which includes about 180 to 270 ECTS points at the same level of the university Bachelor's programmes.

Those colleges which are offering professional Bachelor's degrees have merged into a comprehensive Centre for Higher Education  (Centre for Videregaende Uddannelse (CVU). From 2005 onwards, CVU fulfill certain criteria which can be labeled as the University College. Colleges providing Academy Profession degrees have formed Academies of Professional Higher Education/Erhvervsakademier. This serves as a framework for regional cooperation.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation oversees university education except higher education programmes that are under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs-this includes music, fine arts, architecture and librarianship.

There are over 500 degree programmes and 1300 courses taught in English. You can also study for Bachelors, Masters, PhD, or Academy Profession degree as a student in Denmark depending upon qualifications. Students can also come across as exchange students to attend a Danish Summer School.

Denmark's educational system is well formulated and designed to meet the needs of Danish as well as international students.
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