The education and training system comprises:
- primary and lower secondary education (basic schooling); (ISCED levels 1-2);
- upper secondary education; (ISCED level 3);
- post-secondary education (ISCED levels 4-5);
- higher education;(ISCED levels 6-8).
Children participate in mainstream education from the age of six and progress through the system during their youth into adulthood. Adult education and continuing training (CVT) mirrors the qualifications provided within the mainstream system but is designed specifically for adults. It also provides opportunities to acquire supplementary qualifications. As such, the two parallel systems combined provide a framework for lifelong learning.
Basic schooling is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16, that is, from pre-school class to ninth grade. In 2017 (th grade rather than enter an upper secondary programme directly. The 10th grade is an option for young people to acquire academic competence and clarity about their choices before entering youth education (either general or vocational upper secondary education). 2015 VET reform combines the 10th grade and VET programmes into a programme called EUD10.
), 46.2% of the youth cohort decided to continue to the optional 10
Primary and lower secondary education is generally integrated into, and located within, the comprehensive Danish Folkeskole ( ), although other types of institution, such as private independent schools, also exist. Of the youth cohort, 80.0% attended the comprehensive Danish Folkeskole in the school year 2016/17. There is a tendency to move towards private compulsory schooling. In the same school year (2016/17), 15.9% attended a private school. Of the rest of the youth cohort, 4.1% attended special programmes. Primary and lower secondary education is completed by taking an examination providing access to upper secondary (youth) education.
Within the adult education and continuing training system, there are two programmes at EQF level 2. Preparatory adult education (FVU) provides courses in basic literacy and mathematics, as well as courses for those with learning difficulties or with Danish as their second language. General adult education (AVU) is provided to adults who, for whatever reason, did not complete lower secondary education or need supplementary education in particular subjects. Qualifications at this level are equivalent to the ninth or 10th grade leaving examination.
Upper secondary education consists of both general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education and training (erhvervsuddannelse, EUD). General upper secondary education programmes usually last three years and prepare learners for higher education at tertiary level. Five different qualifications result from five corresponding programmes:
- upper secondary leaving qualification (studentereksamen, STX) (EQF 4);
- higher preparatory examination (højere forberedelseseksamen, HF) (EQF 4);
- higher commercial examination (højere handelseksamen, HHX) (EQF 4);
- higher technical examination (højere teknisk eksamen, HTX) (EQF 4);
- combined vocational (journeyman’s test) and general upper secondary leaving qualification (EUX) (EQF 5).
The adult education (age 25 and above) and continuing training system includes three types of programme at upper secondary level:
- higher preparatory single subjects (enkeltfag, HF) (EQF 4);
- basic (vocational) adult education (Erhvervsuddannelse for voksne, EUV) (EQF 3-5), which is equivalent to EUD;
- and adult vocational training programmes (Arbejdsmarkedsuddannelser, AMU) (EQF 2-5).
In broad terms, higher education comprises:
- professionally oriented short- and medium-cycle programmes where the short-cycle programmes lead to an academy profession degree and are offered at academies of professional higher education, while the medium-cycle programmes lead to a professional bachelor degree and are offered by university colleges;
- research-based long-cycle programmes offered at universities where most learners continue to a master degree programme after completing a bachelor degree. The former can then provide access to doctoral programmes.
There are corresponding programmes within the adult education and continuing training system: short-cycle further (vocational) adult education (VVU), medium-cycle diploma programmes, and long-cycle master programmes. As part-time courses, these programmes allow participants to combine education with a working career, as well as improving the integration of the individual’s professional and life experience.
The Danish VET system is divided into IVET and CVT.
The IVET system is for learners aged up to 25 and the CVT for learners aged 25 and above.
Danish education and training features a mainstream system providing qualifications at all levels, from compulsory schooling to doctoral degrees, and a parallel adult education and continuing vocational training (CVT) system. CVT is designed to meet the needs of adult learners, for example through part-time courses. The two systems offer equivalent qualifications at various levels, enabling horizontal permeability.
VET programmes are organised according to the dual principle, alternating between periods of college-based and work-based learning (apprenticeship training) in enterprises. The college-based learning will typically comprise practice based learning in workshops.
When learners complete a VET programme they can enter the labour market as skilled workers, or can apply for CVT in the form of professional academy programmes (Erhvervsakademier).