The development of the Danish lifelong learning strategy
In spring 2007, the government finalised a report on Denmark’s strategy for lifelong learning in connection to the European Lifelong Learning Programme. This constitutes the Danish government’s contribution to the realisation of the common goals in the Lisbon Strategy. The lifelong learning strategy encompasses the development of all forms of education, learning, and lifelong upgrading of qualifications, including formal education, non-formal education, adult education and continuing training, as well as education in the workplace and other settings.
The overall aim of the Danish strategy for lifelong learning is to make Denmark a leading knowledge society with strong competitiveness and strong cohesion. Education, lifelong upgrading of qualifications, research, and innovation at the highest international level are crucial for achieving this aim.
The lifelong learning strategy is to contribute to future-proof Denmark. At the same time, it is a contribution to the realisation of the common European objectives of education and lifelong learning and the development of strategies and instruments for lifelong learning in the European Union.
The strategy considers challenges such as growing demands on the workforce’s general and vocational skills, as well as the ageing of the labour force.
Objectives for lifelong learning
The lifelong learning strategy includes nine objectives:
- A coherent education system from preschool to higher education;
- World-class education programmes that foster talent and accommodate weak learners;
- Relevant, high quality adult education and continuing training for everyone in the labour market with a particular emphasis on those with the lowest level of education;
- Systematic competence development for employees in both public and private enterprises and increased investment in continuing training and competence development for employees;
- Improved guidance and counselling opportunities to ensure pupils, students and adults the best possible conditions to choose education programmes and participate in lifelong learning;
- All forms of education and learning should be based on and build on the knowledge, skills and competences of individuals;
- Coherent education paths and transparency in the education system;
- A global perspective in all education programmes to contribute to internationalisation and cooperation with other countries;
- Stronger higher education environments are to be created to contribute to higher quality in education and knowledge development, and a better framework and better conditions shall be developed for interaction between educational institutions and enterprises.
The implementation of the strategy
In order to fulfil the overall objectives of education and lifelong skills upgrading, the government prioritised a number of specific goals and initiatives within the overall education system and in the area of adult education and continuing training. The government prioritised 26 goals and initiatives within the ordinary education system and 12 goals and initiatives in the area of adult education and continuing training.
Actions and initiatives in a large number of other areas also support and promote lifelong learning. Among other things, this applies to efforts in the area of employment and integration, business oriented policy initiatives and in the area of liberal adult education and cultural activities.
The Lifelong Learning Strategy is a long-term strategy that was implemented in the period 2007-2012.
The implementation of the extensive reforms is based on all relevant stakeholders taking co-responsibility and contributing actively. This applies to national authorities, the social partners, educational institutions, enterprises, liberal adult education providers, voluntary organisations and municipal and regional stakeholders etc. It is the government’s aim to strengthen dialogue and partnerships between all stakeholders in order to realise Denmark’s strategy for education and lifelong skills upgrading.
In 2009, an inter-departmental working group established a Danish National Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (NQF). The framework supports the goal of lifelong learning. It helps students and employees by giving them a comprehensive overview of the education system and visualising possible educational paths. For more information on the Danish NQF, please visit: 2.5 National Qualifications Framework.
Ministry of Children and Education, 2018: Lifelong learning. [Accessed 9 September 2022]
Ministry of Education, 2007: Denmark’s strategy for lifelong learning – Education and lifelong upgrading of qualifications for all. [Accessed 9 September 2022]