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Denmark

Overview

Kongeriget Danmark (The Kingdom of Denmark) is located in the North Sea and is bordered by Germany and the Baltic Sea. The Faroe Islands are a Danish territory. The major languages in Denmark are Danish, Faroese, and Greenlandic, with English as the predominant second language. The population is 5,484,723 and the literacy rate is 99%.

The earliest inhabitants of present-day Denmark can be traced back to 12,500 BC. Vikings from Denmark explored the world during the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th centuries. They discovered and settled on Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. By the middle of the 11th century, Denmark had conquered Norway and England.

In 1448, Christan I became the first king, and the current royal family can be traced back to him. In the 1814 Treaty of Kiel, Denmark lost Norway to Sweden, but retained Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. On July 5, 1849, Denmark became a constitutional monarchy.

Despite signing a 10-year non-aggression pact with Denmark, Germany invaded Denmark in 1939, and occupied the country until the end of World War II. In 1944, Denmark granted independence to Iceland. In 1945, Denmark was a charter member of the United Nations. In 1972, Denmark joined the European Union and, in 1979, granted independence to Greenland.

Education

The Undervisnings Ministeriet (formerly Ministry of Education and Research) oversees education in Denmark via decrees and orders. The MOE also controls final examinations for non-tertiary schools and issues recommendations for educational institutions. Public primary and lower secondary schools are the responsibility of municipalities. The counties take responsibility for upper secondary and higher secondary schools. The state funds private colleges and other institutions offering training for kindergarten, child welfare, and primary and lower secondary education. Engineering colleges are technically private but are funded entirely by the State. Denmark also subsidizes its folk or open schools, agricultural schools, continuation schools, and some home economics schools. The State also funds most of the universities and other tertiary institutions, even offering subsidies to the few private higher education institutes. Every Dane over the age of 18 is entitled to public support for his or her higher education; tuition at public educational institutions is free.

In 2003, the Danish parliament restructured its educational and vocational guidance systems aimed at young people both inside and outside education in Denmark. Two new independent types of guidance centers have been established: 46 youth guidance centers provide information and training between the completion of compulsory education at age 16, and 7 regional guidance centers are responsible for transitioning students from vocational or upper secondary education into higher education.

Primary and Secondary Education

Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 16 and is offered at public schools administered by local municipalities, as well as private schools. 12.2% of students are enrolled in private schools. Primary and folkeskole (lower secondary school) consists of 9 grades with an optional 10th grade. A first foreign language, usually English, is introduced in the 3rd grade, and a 2nd foreign language, usually German or French, is introduced in the 7th grade. Students must have studied a 2nd foreign language to be admitted to upper secondary school.

Upper secondary school is 2-3 years, depending on the student's track. Academic upper secondary school is offered at one of 75 gymnasiums and is 2-3 years. Admission to the 2-year program requires the optional 10th year of folkeskole. At the end of the 2nd year, students sit for the examination leading to the Højere Forberedelseksamen (Higher Preparatory Examination). Students in the 3-year program sit for an external examination leading to the Studentereksamen at the end of the 3rd year.

Business studies are offered at 60 business colleges. They offer 3-year programs leading to the Højere Handeleksamen (Higher Commercial Examination). Technical studies are 3-year programs offered at 38 technical colleges and lead to the Højere Teknisk Eksamen (Higher Technical Examination).

Vocational upper secondary school programs are offered at Handelsskolen, Teknisk Skolen, Social-og sundhedsskolen, Landbrugsskolen and other specialized schools. These programs are 2-4 years, but most are 3.5 to 4 years. They combine both theoretical and practical training and lead to the Eksamensbevis for højere teknisk eksamen.

Danish vocational colleges normally offer programs at all post-compulsory education levels: upper secondary education, vocational education, and tertiary diplomas as well as continuing education and training programs for adults. The vocational education and training program is a sandwich-type program, which alternates theoretical education with practical training in the vocation.

Adult vocational education consists mainly of short-term programs that range from ½ day to 6.5 weeks. Most are 3.5 days and all combine coursework in the workplace with practical training. Upon completion, students are awarded a Uddannelsesbevis or a Svendebrev.

Post-Secondary Education

Post-secondary programs are offered at Erhvervsakademier (Academies) of Professional Higher Education, Centre for Videregående Uddannelse (CVU) (Centers for Higher Education) which were created in 2000, and universities. Admission to post-secondary study requires a Studentereksamen, Højere Forberedelseksamen, Højere Handeleksamen, or a Højere Teknisk Eksamen.

Students apply for admission to post-secondary programs through the Coordinated Enrolment System (KOT) through a quota system. In the first level of the quota system, students are selected for admission based on their results on secondary school examinations. In the second level, students are admitted based on an assessment made by each institution individually.

Erhvervsakademier (Academies) of Professional Higher Education were created in 1998, and offer 2-year programs in vocational and technical areas leading to the Academy Profession/AP diploma.

Centers for Higher Education offer 3 to 4.5-year programs in professional areas, such as nursing, social work, education, journalism, and engineering, leading to the Professionsbachelor.

As a result of the 2003 educational reforms, university education in Denmark was changed. Previously, 1st level university programs were 5 years and led to a Candidatus/a … and graduate level programs were 3 years leading to a Licentiatus/a/lic..

First and Second Cycles

Currently, 1st level university programs are 3 years (180 European Credit Transfer System/ECTS) and lead to a Bachelor of Arts + field of study, or a Bachelor of Science + field of study. 2nd level university programs require a bachelors degree. They are 2 years (120 European Credit Transfer System/ECTS) and, upon successful defense of a speciale (thesis), students are awarded a Candidatus/a.

Third Cycle

Doctoral programs are 3 years (180 European Credit Transfer System/ECTS) and require a Candidatus/a for admission. Upon successful defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Ph.D.


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