By 2025, 30% of a youth cohort should take up VET directly after compulsory schooling.

This is the target of the reform agreed by the Danish Parliament in 2014 to create better and more attractive vocational education and training (VET). Its objective is to raise the share of youth choosing and completing VET. Learners are also encouraged to raise their skill levels in individual subjects through challenging programmes.

Grade requirements and summer schools

Learners need to achieve a passing grade (grade 2 of a 7 point scale, ‘adequate performance’) in Danish and mathematics to be admitted to a VET college.

To assist learners who have failed to reach the required grade, the Ministry of Education is piloting summer courses in 15 Danish municipalities in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, 180 learners attended these courses, which are expected to help them raise their competence levels.

First experiences

According to the Ministry of Education, in 2015 youths moving directly from compulsory education to VET dropped by 7% compared to 2014 as a result of the new passing grade requirements.

The reform seems to be quite successful in terms of retention rates. A study by the Association of Danish Business and Technical Colleges (Danske Erhvervsskoler) conducted among 66 vocational colleges shows significant improvement. Overall dropout among students admitted to a first basic VET course after summer decreased from 28% in 2014 to 3.2% in 2015.

Retention and dropout data of the second basic course are awaited with great interest. VET actors and stakeholders are keen to see further effects of the reform and its impact on VET quality and attractiveness. Reaching the objectives of the reform and making VET an even more attractive option for learners in the future is in the interest of all stakeholders.

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