The Danish Education System

Information on the system of schooling in Denmark, from pre-primary to higher education...

The Danish education system consists of the following stages:

  • Primary and lower secondary education (grundskole)
  • Upper secondary education (ungdomsuddannelser)
  • Higher education (videregående uddannelser)

Primary and lower secondary education

The state school in Denmark is the municipal Folkeskole, which combines primary and lower secondary education from Year 0 to Year 10. The pre-school year (børnehaveklasse) is obligatory, and represents the transition from kindergarten or day care activities to primary school.

The school leaving examination (Folkeskolens Afgangsprøve) is taken after Year 9 or 10, and the higher examination (Folkeskolens 10.-klasseprøve) at the end of the following year. The examination subjects are Danish, mathematics, English, German and physics/chemistry.

Students are evaluated on a regular basis and must complete a number of tests at different stages of their compulsory schooling.

Upper secondary education

Upper secondary education covers two to five years of education. There are two choices for 16-19 year-olds covered by the umbrella term youth education programmes (ungdomsuddannelser):

  • General Upper Secondary School
  • Vocational Education and Training

Youth education programmes provide the student with various levels of vocational training as well as educational and personal qualifications.

There are four different types of upper secondary education programmes in Denmark:

  1. STX gymnasium - general upper secondary education (3 years)
  2. HF - higher preparatory examination (2 years)
  3. HTX - higher technical examination programme (3 years)
  4. HHX - higher commercial examination programme (3 years)

There are both public and private upper secondary schools. To be admitted to an upper secondary education course, a pupil must have completed nine years of basic education and fulfilled certain subject requirements. In some cases an admission test is also required.

Vocational upper secondary education alternates practical training with teaching.

The International Baccalaureate

The two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) exam is an upper secondary education programme in English. Entry requirements include good proficiency in English, and the student must have completed either Year 10 or Year 11 in an international or foreign national school.