Since 2014, the Danish Education system has been undergoing significant reforms which have ultimately resulted in longer, and more varied schooldays, increased physical activity, and more lessons in Danish and in Maths. With regards to Vocational Education and Training, new legislation has been adopted to reduce the dropout rate among VET students, improve the quality of VET programmes, and to increase the number of training places.
The Danish government’s objectives for 2020 include achieving upper-secondary completion rates of 95% and tertiary enrolment and completion rates of 60%.
Denmark is the EU country investing the greatest share of its wealth in education (7,2% of GDP in 2015), but the 2016 financial bill made budgetary cuts across the education sector. The government furthermore plans to cut the education budget by 2% each year over the next four years, which has provoked discontent and protests among the unions1. According to OECD statistics, Danish aid to education was halved in 2013, from ca. 182 to 94 million USD.
Results from the TALIS 2013 report reveal that the Danish teachers have high levels of job satisfaction. In 2014, teachers’ statutory salaries in Denmark were higher than the average across OECD countries, especially for early-stage teachers (40-50% higher). Additionally, teachers’ salary levels are comparable with those of other tertiary-educated Danes2. Nevertheless, according to a 2009 study by NIRAS3 the teaching profession is generally associated with a low degree of prestige among youth education graduates and the wider Danish society.
In 2013, a struggle opposing the Danish Union of Teachers and the government concerning the negotiations of the collective agreement, ended up in 55,000 teachers being locked out of schools for almost four weeks. In 2014, following a complaint lodged by the union against the government, the ILO recalled that, “The introduction of draft legislation affecting collective bargaining or conditions of employment should be preceded by full and detailed consultations with the appropriate organizations of workers and employers,” and requested to be kept informed of developments during the following collective bargaining negotiations between the parties.
In 2017, Amnesty International reported concerns about the amendment of the Aliens Act restricting the right to family reunification for individuals granted subsidiary protection status, possibly violating the right to family life for concerned individuals.