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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National Reforms in School Education

Denmark

14.Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

14.2National Reforms in School Education

Last update: 15 March 2023

2023

More than 5,000 Ukrainian children attend primary and lower secondary school

February 2023

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Children and Education, approximately 5,300 displaced children from Ukraine attended primary and lower secondary education in February.

Currently, more than 8,000 children and young people from Ukraine are residents in Denmark under the law on temporary residence permits for displaced persons from Ukraine (the Special Act). Among the more than 6,200 children and young people between the ages six and 16, approximately 5,300 are enrolled in primary and lower secondary schools.

This means that 86 per cent of the displaced Ukrainians between the ages six and 16 are enrolled in primary and lower secondary schools. They attend the following types of schools:

  • 87 per cent attend public schools (Folkeskole);
  • Eight per cent attend municipal youth schools;
  • Two per cent attend private or private independent schools;
  • One per cent attend specific educational offers to children and young people from Ukraine in accordance with the Special Act;
  • One per cent attend special schools.

Furthermore, approximately 1,500 Ukrainian children between the ages zero and five are enrolled in early childhood education and care, which corresponds to 68 per cent of all the Ukrainian children between the ages zero and five residing in Denmark under the Special Act.

For more specific information (in Danish), please consult the key figures on displaced children and young people from Ukraine: Fordrevne børn og unge fra Ukraine med ophold efter særloven i dagtilbud og grundskoler i Danmark.

2022

New report from working group: Foreign languages continue to be challenged in the Danish education system

August 2022

In 2018, the former government set up a working group as part of the national foreign language strategy. In a recently published report, the working group follows up on the effects of the initiatives implemented within the framework of the national foreign language strategy as well as the general development in the foreign language area.

The working group consists of stakeholders and specialists from the foreign language area. The working group is to provide a status of the area annually.

The working group examines the development in foreign languages across the whole education system – primary and lower secondary education, general and vocational upper secondary education, EUX, primary and lower secondary teacher training programmes, and university education. The working group focuses on five themes in the report:

  1. Problems regarding transitions in the education system;
  2. Which foreign languages the schools offer and which foreign languages the pupils choose in primary and lower secondary education;
  3. Which foreign languages the educational institutions offer and which foreign languages the students choose in upper secondary education and higher education, including the number of students that choose education programmes in foreign languages;
  4. The quality of the educational programmes in foreign languages and the students’ academic level;
  5. The labour market’s need of linguistic competences.

Overall, the working group finds that the foreign languages area continue to be challenged and the reforms of recent years have brought only a few improvements. Among other things, the working group’s report concludes that the variety of foreign languages education is limited in most of the education system.

For instance, the offer of the foreign language subjects French and German in primary and lower secondary education is geographically uneven. It is possible to choose German in all the 98 Danish municipalities, whereas it is possible to choose French in 67 municipalities. In addition, the proportion of students with foreign language subjects at level A in upper secondary education has declined.

In addition to the status on the initiatives in the national foreign language strategy and the general development in the foreign language area, the working group presents a number of recommendations on measures aimed at strengthening the area.

For more information (in Danish), please consult the report: Følgegruppens statusrapport for Strategi for styrelse af fremmedsprog i uddannelsessystemet 2021: Del I - Hoveddel.

Expert group is to examine the impact of gender on learning and development

June 2022

The Danish government wishes all children and youths, regardless of their gender, to have equal opportunities to become as skilled as they can. Yet, there are big differences between boys’ and girls’ academic results. Therefore, the Minister for Children and Education has set up an expert group to examine the reasons for gender differences in academic results in the education system.

The expert group is to examine the impact of the form, content and organisation of the instruction on the pupils’ learning and general motivation. Furthermore, the expert group is to identify if there are factors that contribute to the gender differences even before the children start in school. The work of the expert group is to result in recommendations on how to reduce the impact of gender in day care, primary and lower secondary education, and upper secondary education.

For instance, the recommendations can aim at the following themes:

  • Content and measures in day care;
  • Pedagogy and didactics;
  • The form and organisation of the education;
  • The content of the education;
  • The teachers’ knowledge and competencies;
  • Structural conditions such as legislation or the organisation of the education system.

As a basis for the work of the expert group, the Ministry of Children and Education has completed an analysis on the academic differences between boys and girls and how they develop during primary and lower secondary education and in the transition to upper secondary education. For one thing, the analysis illustrates an increasing difference between boys’ and girls’ results in the mandatory tests in the Danish public school’s leaving examination from 2008 to 2019. The analysis also illustrates that more girls than boys complete upper secondary education.

The expert group includes pupils, teachers, pedagogues, headmasters, representatives of the social partners, researchers with particular insight and knowledge within the area, and other stakeholders with a special focus on gender.

The expert group is to complete their work and report to the Minister for Children and Education by spring 2023.

New antisemitism action plan to increase knowledge about Holocaust and antisemitism in the schools

January 2022

In light of vandalism against Jewish burial sites, the Danish government has launched an action plan against antisemitism. The action plan is interdepartmental and includes 15 initiatives to prevent antisemitism taking root in Denmark. Five of the 15 initiatives aim at increasing children and youth’s knowledge of Holocaust and antisemitism. These five initiatives include:

  1. Obligatory education in Holocaust in primary and lower secondary school and general upper secondary education;
  2. Continuing and developing the education in the recollection of Holocaust and other genocides;
  3. Preparing teachers to evade exclusion in the school;
  4. Expanding youth-to-youth dialogue between religious beliefs;
  5. More information on Jewish life and culture in Denmark.

The objective of the initiatives is to prepare pupils on how to resist antisemitism and other forms of discrimination. The purpose of the initiatives is to teach the pupils to interact in a diverse society and understand that their actions and statements can have negative implications for other people. The action plan obligates the educational institutions to ensure that the pupils obtain knowledge and skills, which remove prejudices and myths and call for tolerance and mutual respect between people. This includes working systematically with critical thinking, in relation to for example propaganda and fake news, and challenging extremist and xenophobic attitudes and values.

The action plan also encompasses other initiatives to prevent antisemitism including more research on antisemitism, prevention in specific environments, protection of Jews and Jewish institutions, improved instruction regarding anti-Semitic incidents and focus on the fight against antisemitism in the foreign policy.

For more information: Action plan against anti-Semitism