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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of Private Education

Denmark

2.Organisation and Governance

2.4Organisation of Private Education

Last update: 24 June 2024

Denmark has a long tradition for private education institutions receiving public grants in the formal and non-formal education sector.

Early childhood education and care

At ECEC level, there are three types of institutions:

  • Public;
  • Government-dependent private;
  • Private independent.

Public institutions account for the majority of institutions. Information on the number of public and private ECEC institutions can be found in chapter 2.8.

The Act on Day Care Facilities applies to both the private and public ECEC institutions.

Grants and grant conditions

Public and government-dependent private institutions receive grants per child from the municipalities.

Private independent institutions do not receive grants. Parents can receive grants from the municipality if the institution is approved by the municipality.

The municipalities are responsible for the supervision of the institutions.

Primary and lower secondary education

At primary and lower secondary level, there are two types of schools:

  • Public;
  • Government-dependent private.

Public schools account for the majority of schools. Information on the number of public and private primary and lower secondary schools can be found in chapter 2.8.

The public primary and lower secondary schools are regulated by the Act on the Folkeskole, while the government-dependent private primary and lower secondary schools are regulated by the Act on Private Independent Schools and Private Primary and Lower Secondary School etc.

Grants and grant conditions

Publicly funded private schools receive public grants, including operational grants, special grants, block grants, and building grants.

The grants received for operational expenditures cover the expenditures “per pupil per year”. In principle, the grants correspond to the public expenditures in the municipal primary and lower secondary schools (Folkeskole) excluding the fees paid by the pupils' parents.

Grant conditions:

  • The school must have a certain degree of self-financing;
  • The school must have a certain minimum size;
  • The school must have a number of supervisors certified by the Ministry of Children and Education. The task of the supervisors is to check whether the overall teaching of the school measures up to what is required in the primary and lower secondary school.

Upper secondary education

At upper secondary level, there are two types of institutions:

  • Public;
  • Government-dependent private.

Public institutions account for the majority of institutions. Information on the number of public and private upper secondary education institutions can be found in chapter 2.8.

There are no publicly funded private or fully private vocational upper secondary education institutions.

Public upper secondary schools are regulated by the Law on Upper Secondary Education, while the private upper secondary schools are regulated by the Law on Private Institutions for Upper Secondary Education Programmes.

Grants and grant conditions

The funding of government-dependent private gymnasiums corresponds to the public grant system of the publicly funded private primary and lower secondary schools.

Grant conditions:

  • The education institution must be approved by the National Agency for Education and Quality under the Ministry of Children and Education;
  • The institution must have a certain degree of self-financing;
  • The institution is not allowed to purchase buildings with the purpose of renting them out.

Upper secondary schools are supervised by the Ministry of Children and Education.

Higher education

At higher education level, there are two types of institutions:

  • State institutions (maritime schools and academies of music, theatre, film, and fine arts);
  • Self-governing institutions (business academies, university colleges, and universities).

Self-governing institutions account for the majority of the institutions. Self-governing institutions receive public grants. 

Further information on types of higher education institutions can be found in chapter 7.1.

Higher education institutions are supervised by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Adult education

Within adult education, there is a distinction between formal and non-formal adult education. Formal adult education is offered at the same institutions as in the ordinary education system. Public grants might vary between institutions. Adult education typically has a fee for participation.   

Within non-formal adult education, there is a significant number of private independent institutions. In general, competences acquired through this kind of private adult education are not formally recognised.

Information on adult education can be found in chapter 8.3 and chapter 8.4