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Denmark: preparatory education system reform

A majority of the parliamentary parties in Denmark agreed on reform of preparatory education at the end of compulsory education to support young people who are not yet ready to enrol in upper secondary education. The agreement implies a new preparatory basic education to equip them to a youth education or a job.

At present, only one in four people taking preparatory education completes youth education by the age of 24; this is despite policy goals being set at 90%. A further policy goal is reducing the number of NEETs by half by 2030.

Agreement on the reform is based on recommendations from the expert group Better ways for youth education. Following the recommendations, the Government presented its political initiative Believe in yourself - we do in May 2017.

The agreement implies current preparatory options will be merged into a new preparatory basic education (Forberedende GrundUddannelse - FGU) which will last up to two years. The FGU is intended to prepare professionally, personally and socially people under the age of 25 to carry out either vocational education or training (VET) or other youth education, or to keep a footing in the labour market. The FGU is anchored in state-owned institutions where the municipalities contribute to financing.

The reform of the preparatory education system includes the following elements:

  • FGU for young people under the age of 25 who need prior professional or personal upgrading to complete youth education or get into employment. The education is a merger of production school courses, combined youth education and basic VET, basic adult education, preparatory adult education and dyslexic education for adults under 25;
  • education plan for all young people;
  • the job perspective must be clear in FGU which primarily prepares for continuing VET or for employment;
  • restructuring of municipal guidance and support functions, including youth education guidance centres; these will become a coherent, co-ordinated, community youth initiative, in which the young person will be assigned one contact person;
  • SPS-scheme in preparatory basic education, assuring better conditions for young people with dyslexia and other disabilities;
  • a comprehensive plan for competence-raising and its implementation, including capacity building, local implementation teams, evaluation and follow-up research programmes to ensure the quality of the new basic education;
  • regional municipal contact councils must contribute to ensuring that the education is nationwide.