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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education


12.Educational Support and Guidance

12.4Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

The Consolidation Act on Guidance covers guidance in the Danish education system. The Consolidation Act on Guidance supports the government’s declared goals that by 2015, 95 % of all young people should complete a youth education programme and that by 2020, 60 % should complete a higher educational programme.

Guidance is regarded as a continuous process that should help young people become more conscious of their abilities, interests and possibilities, thus enabling them to make decisions regarding education and employment on a qualified basis.

The government wants to make it easier for citizens to make realistic decisions about learning opportunities and careers - for the individual’s own sake and for the benefit of society as a whole. Thus, the Consolidation Act on Guidance aims to develop a transparent guidance system with easy access to high quality guidance services.

The Danish guidance system consists of the following key elements:

  • Youth guidance centres that provide guidance services for young people up to the age of 25 years, focusing on the transition from compulsory to youth education, or, alternatively, to the labour market.
  • Regional guidance centres that provide guidance for students in youth education programmes and young people and adults outside the education system who wish to enter a higher education programme.
  • eGuidance which can be reached by e-mail, chat, phone or text message seven days a week from morning to evening. eGuidance is for all citizens – young persons and adults. eGuidance was launched in January 2011.
  • The national guidance portal: is an ICT-based careers information and guidance portal. The portal helps people to find information that enables them to make qualified decisions about education, training and careers.
  • Adult educational centres which provide guidance for adults in the field of further adult education.

The Consolidation Act on Guidance defines seven main aims of guidance. According to these aims, guidance related to choice of education, training and career must:

  • help to ensure that choice of education and career will be of greatest possible benefit to the individual and to society and that all young people complete an education, leading to vocational/professional qualifications;
  • be targeted particularly at young people who, without specific guidance, will have difficulties in relation to choice and completion of education, training and career;
  • take into account the individual’s interests and personal qualifications and skills, including informal competencies and previous education and work experience, as well as the expected need for skilled labour and self-employed individuals;
  • contribute to limiting, as much as possible, the number of dropouts and students changing from one education and training programme to another and ensure that the pupil or student completes the chosen education with the greatest possible academic/vocational and personal benefits;
  • contribute to improving the individual’s ability to seek and use information, including ICT-based information and guidance about choice of education, educational institution and career;
  • help to ensure coherence and progression in the individual’s guidance support;
  • be independent of sectoral and institutional interests. Therefore, guidance shall be provided by practitioners with an approved guidance education or recognised competencies at the same level.

The last objective is to raise the quality level in Danish guidance, including an improvement of guidance counsellors’ quali¬fications and competencies.

The Ministry for Children and Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science are responsible for guidance. These ministries have a controlling and coordinating role in relation to the guidance system.

As mentioned, youth guidance centres provide guidance services for young people up to the age of 25 years, focusing on the transition from compulsory to youth education, or, alternatively, to the labour market. In 2004, 46 youth education guidance centres (Ungdommens Uddannelsesvejledning) were established under the municipalities (now 52). The staff employed in the youth education guidance centres have different educational backgrounds.

Among other things, the youth education guidance centres are responsible for providing educational and career guidance to pupils in form level 7 to 10 in the Folkeskole. The staff does this by collective guidance and individual guidance if needed. In particular, the work of the youth education guidance centres is aimed at pupils who are considered as not being ready for further education. This 'readiness' is based on a number of factors, including maturity as well as social and academic skills. In addition, the youth education guidance centres reach out to young people under the age of 25 who neither are in full-time employment nor have completed/ are in the process of completing youth education or higher education.

For more information on guidance, please refer to the report Guidance in Education – the educational guidance system in Denmark.

Psychological counselling

School psychological services or educational-psychological advisory services are psychological counselling services within the Danish early childhood and primary and lower secondary schooling system.

The organisation PPR (pedagogic-psychological counselling, in Danish pædagogisk-psykologisk rådgivning) offers advice and counselling to institutions and schools about children and young people between the age of 0-18 with special educational problems or needs.

The general counselling is performed by psychologists and speech and hearing therapists and takes place at schools.

More information about PPR can be found here (in Danish) and here (in Danish).

Career guidance

For each independent school, a school guidance scheme is established which is responsible for providing pupils with advice and guidance in preparation of their choice of education and vocation. The scheme comprises the guidance provided by the class teacher and the educational counsellor in cooperation with the other teachers of the school, other guidance schemes in the municipality and the general parent orientation on the educational offer of the schools.

A school guidance scheme comprises a collective guidance and an individual guidance. The collective guidance comprises orientation on the elective and optional subjects of the school, the structure of the education system, admission requirements etc. and job and labour market conditions. The individual guidance comprises guidance of the individual pupil in connection with his or her choice of subjects, education and occupation, guidance in the elaboration of the individual pupil’s education and action plans and specially organised guidance for pupils with special needs.

In the Consolidation Act on Guidance, one of the seven main aims of guidance is to be independent of sectorial and institutional interests. Therefore, guidance shall be provided by practitioners with an approved guidance education or recognised competencies at the same level.

In other words, one of the objectives of the Danish guidance system is to improve the qualifications and competencies of guidance practitioners in order to professionalise Danish guidance services. Consequently, one common training programme is offered to guidance counsellors from all sectors.

It is a requirement that educational guidance practitioners complete the diploma or master programme in educational and vocational guidance or the bachelor’s degree programme in public administration. Alternatively, guidance practitioners with extensive experience in the field can apply for assessment and recognition of their competencies and prior learning.

Six university colleges in Denmark offer the diploma programme on a part-time basis. It is equivalent to 12 months of full-time studies and consists of three basic modules, two optional modules and a diploma project. It has a value of 60 ECTS points. The training programme is offered as an adult learning programme and corresponds to a diploma degree. Entry requirements are, as a minimum, a completed short-cycle (two-year) higher education programme and two years of relevant working experience.

Furthermore, it is possible to follow a master programme in guidance.

Both training programmes are offered within the framework of the Danish adult education and training system. They are aimed at and adapted to adults who already have another higher education degree and two years of relevant work experience.

The Danish university colleges also offer a 3.5-year full-time bachelor’s degree programme in public administration, corresponding to 210 ECTS.

Please also consult the above subsection on “academic guidance” as career guidance and academic guidance are closely connected.