Adult education and training consists of many different kinds of education. Broadly speaking, these are:
- General adult education
- Adult vocationally oriented education
- Higher education for adults
- Non-formal adult education
Adult education and training is divided between three ministries: The Ministry of Children and Education is responsible for General adult education and Adult vocationally oriented education, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science is responsible for Higher education for adults and the Ministry of Culture is responsible for Non-formal adult education.
Please consult chapter 8.4 Main Types of Provision for a more detailed account of the educational programmes within adult education and training as well as the provisions governing these educational programmes.
Quality assurance in adult education and training is – just as basic education - characterised by external as well as internal quality assurance. The Danish Evaluation Institute, EVA, and the Danish Accreditation Institution both play significant roles in the external quality assurance.
The Danish Evaluation Institute, EVA, has primarily an evaluative function, whereas the Danish Accreditation Institution primarily performs institutional and programme accreditation. Contrary to the Danish Evaluation Institute, EVA, the Danish Accreditation Institution only covers higher education under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science.
No major reforms have been implemented within this area in recent years. The main provision in this area is the Consolidation Act on the Danish Evaluation Institute and the Accreditation Act on higher education institutions.
Additional provisions governing this area will be introduced throughout the following text when appropriate.
The Danish Evaluation Institute, EVA, is an independent state institution under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Children and Education operating at national level. The purpose of the Danish Evaluation Institute is to contribute to securing and developing the quality of teaching, education and learning in Denmark.
The area of adult education and continuing training covers various different education programmes. Please consult chapter 8.4 on main types of provision, for more information on the programmes. Within the different levels, EVA carries out evaluations and surveys and conveys knowledge from projects that have been carried out. EVA’s mission is: “We evaluate to develop”.
The institute was established in 1999 by an Act of Parliament. Today, the provision governing EVA is the Consolidation Act on the Danish Evaluation Institute and the statutes relating to the Danish Evaluation Institute.
The Danish Accreditation Institution is an independent state institution under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science operating at national level. The purpose of the Danish Accreditation Institution is to ensure quality and relevance in the field of higher education. The institute was established in 2007 by an act of Parliament. Today, the provision governing the Danish Accreditation Institution is the Accreditation Act on higher education institutions.
The Danish Accreditation Institution performs institutional and programme accreditations:
- Institutional accreditation enables institutions to establish a system that best strengthens and develops the quality and relevance of all their programmes. It involves an assessment of the institution’s overall quality assurance system by the Danish Accreditation Institution.
- Programme accreditation involves deciding whether the relevance and quality of a programme comply with centrally-established criteria. This means that accreditation ensures high programme quality and that external accreditation is performed on a uniform, comparable basis. All new programmes must be approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science before they can be established and depending on the accreditation status of the higher educational institution in question, an accreditation might be necessary as well in order to establish a new programme.
Approaches and methods for quality assurance
External quality assurance performed by the Danish Evaluation Institute
External quality assurance carried out by the Danish Evaluation Institute, EVA. The evaluations are carried out on EVA’s own initiative as well as on request from ministries, local authorities and educational institutions among others.
Each year, EVA sends its proposal for next year’s areas of evaluation to the relevant ministries for approval. The frequency of external quality assurance is thus decided by EVA and approved by the relevant ministries.
External quality assurance performed by the Danish Accreditation Institution
External quality assurance carried out by the Danish Accreditation Institution is performed in accordance with a set plan for the yearly number of institutional accreditations.
Internal quality in general adult education and adult vocationally oriented education
In terms of internal quality assurance in General adult education and Adult vocationally oriented education, it is characteristic that the educational institutions providing adult education and training each establishes a system for quality development and performance assessment in connection with the education and the teaching.
The rules governing this system are laid down by the Minister of Children and Education.
An example is within the field of adult vocational training, where the Ministry of Children and Education has outlined minimum requirements in connection with the quality assurance of educational institutions. In cooperation with representatives from in-service training boards and educational institutions, the Ministry has created a common definition of what good quality in adult vocational training is:
- The participants acquire the competences that are intended with the adult vocational training they attend.
- The competences which the participants acquire are relevant for the participants themselves, businesses and the labour market.
The Ministry of Children and Education has created a tool for evaluation and measurement of the effects of adult vocational training. The website can be accessed here: Viskvalitet.dk (link in Danish).
In general, quality assurance in Higher education for adults is subject to the same rules which apply to quality assurance in higher education. Therefore, please do also consult chapter 11.2 Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
Internal quality assurance in higher education
Institutional accreditation places the responsibility for the quality of programmes with the institution and the institution management. This means that the institution must have established a quality assurance system that reflects the programmes at the institution. Institutional accreditation gives the institution room to organise its quality assurance system as long as it can show that it lives up to the five criteria for quality and relevance laid down in the ministerial order. All higher education institutions must work with the same model for institutional accreditation.
The Accreditation Act on Higher Education Institutions and the Ministerial Order on the Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and the Approval of Higher Education Programmes follow the European standards for quality assuring higher education programmes (European Standards and Guidelines – ESG).
The Accreditation Act, the criteria in the ministerial order and the more detailed points of the criteria constitute the foundation for an evaluation of the work carried out at education institutions to ensure and develop the quality and relevance of their programmes.
The Accreditation Act and the ministerial order state that quality assurance must be ongoing and systematic, that there must be a clear division of responsibility and labour, that quality assurance must be firmly anchored at management level, that institutions must have an inclusive quality culture and that quality assurance must focus on programmes as a whole and on concrete teaching. Institutional accreditation involves assessing whether the institution's quality assurance system is described in detail, is well-argued and well-functioning in practice. This means that it is insufficient for the system to fulfil the criteria on paper. The day-to-day performance of quality assurance at the institution must show that the system works and ensures the quality of programmes both before and after institutional accreditation.
Ministry of Children and Education, 2020. Quality Assurance at adult vocational training and measurement using Viskvalitet.dk. (Kvalitetssikring på AMU og måling med Viskvalitet.dk). (Accessed: 9. November 2020).
Legislation and Official Policy documents
Legal Information, 2001.Ministerial Order on the follow-up on evaluation performed by the Danish Evaluation Institute etc. (Bekendtgørelse om opfølgning på evaluering ved Danmarks Evalueringsinstitut m.v.). (Accessed: 9. November 2020).
Legal Information, 2019. Ministerial Order on Denmark’s Evaluation Institute. (Bekendtgørelse af lov om Danmarks Evalueringsinsitut). (Accessed: 9. November 2020).
Legal Information, 2021. The Accreditation Act on Higher Education Institutions. (Lov om akkreditering af videregående uddannelsesinstitutioner). (Accessed: 19 July 2022).
Legal Information, 2021. Ministerial Order on the Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and the Approval of Higher Education Programmes. (Bekendtgørelse om akkreditering af videregående uddannelsesinstitutioner og videregående uddannelser). (Accessed: 19 July 2022).