In recent decades Denmark has been facing an ongoing challenge of increasing number of young people choosing general upper secondary school over VET. Different national initiatives are addressing this challenge, with a political agreement opening the way to new approaches in primary/lower secondary school (folkeskole).
From autumn 2018, practice- and application-oriented approaches in teaching are to be offered increasingly in primary/lower secondary school. This is expected to make more learners aware of vocational education – particularly those with talent for practical skills development – and to improve their professional development and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Political agreement has been reached on the following five initiatives to be implemented in 2018-20:
- it will be mandatory for all learners to choose at least one two-year practical elective subject in 7th to 8th grade;
- the practical elective chosen by the learners can be completed with a practical or oral exam in the 8th grade;
- in the 9th grade, learners will complete a mandatory multidisciplinary project assignment, which must be published as a report or digital presentation. The practical elements of the 9th grade mandatory project should be strengthened;
- industrial and/or business practice should give learners a sense of how a workplace works and of the different work functions and education backgrounds in a company. Practice should be further promoted. The existing scheme is expanded, giving learners the right to industrial/business practice for at least one week in both the 8th and 9th grades;
- a practical academic development project will be initiated to support the school's work with practical skills and application-oriented teaching. Its goal is to inspire schools to strengthen application-oriented, practical and business-oriented elements in primary/lower school education. Closer cooperation between primary/lower secondary school and vocational colleges is also expected.