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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Developments and Current Policy Priorities


8.Adult Education and Training

8.2Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Last update: 24 June 2024

Historical account

During the first decades of the 20th century, adult education was based upon general leisure-time education as the adult education associations offered it through evening classes. However, the unemployment situation in the 1930s and 1940s created an incipient understanding of the low skilled workers’ need for improved qualifications.

In 1940, the low skilled workers’ unions, the employers’ associations, and the technological institutes established three-year evening courses in the winter season for low skilled workers. In 1950, the Ministry of Labour established five schools for unemployed low skilled workers offering three-week vocational day courses.

Qualifying general education for adults was developed during the 1970s and 1980s when it became possible for adults to sit for the leaving examinations of the public primary and lower secondary school (Folkeskole) in single subjects at the level of lower secondary education. At the same time, a programme on higher preparatory single subject courses at general upper secondary level was introduced.

After some experiments with Open University activities in the 1980s, an Act on Open Education in 1990 opened up for vocationally and professionally oriented part-time courses and single-subject studies for adults at vocational colleges and higher education institutions.

In May 2000, a set of ten acts concerning a reform of the adult education and continuing training area (the further education reform) was adopted. The acts took effect in January 2001.

The reform package comprised a new system of adult education and continuing training, a new form of educational support for adults as well as new grant allocation schemes for institutions offering adult education and continuing training.

Current policy priorities

It has become a tradition that the government and the social partners enters into tripartite agreement about the long-term plans for adult education and continuing training. The latest agreement is from 2023.

The 2023 tripartite agreement

In September 2023, the Danish government and the social partners entered into a tripartite agreement to ensure long-term investments in adult education and training.

The agreement includes the following main elements for skilled and unskilled workers:

  • Continuous increase in funding for adult vocational training (AMU);
  • 100 million DKK is set aside annually for retraining, so unskilled and skilled workers and adults with a short- or medium-cycle higher education can receive grants to attend continuing and further education and training;
  • A national initiative for the improvement in basic skills is established between the Danish government, the social partners, and 10-20 major employers in Denmark. Employers participating in the initiative make a commitment to work systematically with basic skills;
  • Funds are set aside in order to improve digital learning in adult vocational education (AMU). For instance, the funds can be used for investments in digital learning equipment and competence development;
  • Increased allowances for adults attending adult vocational training (AMU), preparatory adult education (FVU), and education for adults with dyslexia (OBU);
  • DKK 13 million is set aside annually from 2024 to 2026 and DKK 7 million is set aside permanently for investments in reach-out activities and guidance for the businesses;
  • The subjects FVU-digital and FVU-English are made permanent from 2024 and onwards and the target groups of the subjects will be expanded;
  • Continuous grants for guidance for adults and VEU coordinators, so adults and businesses can receive guidance about the opportunities for skill development and continuing education and training;
  • DKK 5 million is set aside in 2024 and DKK 7 million is set aside permanently for a new so-called sporskifteordning, where employees in risk of regeneration can change occupation;
  • The current test requirements in adult vocational education (AMU) are made permanent from 2024 and onwards;
  • A new model for providing adult vocational education (AMU) will be developed.



Ministry of Children and Education (Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet), 2023: New tripartite agreement: Long-term investments in adult education and training (Ny trepartsaftale: Langsigtede investeringer i voksen-, efter- og videreuddannelsesområdet). [Accessed 23 February 2024]

Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2024: Tripartite agreements on adult education and continuing training (Trepartsaftaler om efter- og videreuddannelse). [Accessed 23 February 2024]

Legislation and Official Policy documents

Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2018: Ministerial Order on Adult Vocational Training etc. (Bekendtgørelse om arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser m.v.), BEK no 1795 of 27/12/2018. [Accessed 23 February 2024]