Innovation in education

Education: OECD calls for reform of postsecondary vocational education and training in Denmark


04/09/2012 - Denmark should build on the strengths of its vocational and educational training programme to ensure that young people enter the labour market with the skills companies need and to meet the national goal of having 60% of young people enter higher education by 2020, according to a new OECD report.

The Skills Beyond School Review of Denmark highlights the importance of calls for action to address the organization of postsecondary vocational institutions, improve the recognition of prior learning and enhance the skills of the training profession.

The Danish postsecondary vocational education and training system has many strengths, including strong engagement and support of employers and trade unions, and an impressive parallel adult education system.  In 2008, 45% of the population aged 25-64 years participated in formal and/or non-formal training, above the OECD average of 41%.

But there are also challenges: the benefits of plans to reform the system remain unclear; a framework for recognition of prior learning could be used more effectively to facilitate access and completion of a programme; and some teachers and trainers would benefit from a more systematic update of their vocational skills and knowledge.

Among the recommendations for Denmark are to:

  • Postpone the transfer of responsibility for professional bachelor's degrees from academies to university colleges, planned for 1 January 2015. Develop alternative plans in co‑ordination with the social partners to sustain the role of postsecondary VET programmes in meeting labour market needs.
  • Maximise the benefits of research and development through stronger collaboration among universities, university colleges and academies and with the private sector.
  • Strengthen incentives for recognition of prior learning through adjustment of the funding system, stronger quality control and better information. Develop an industry-led professional examination system.
  • Ensure that the vocational knowledge and skills of postsecondary VET teachers remains up-to-date.

This review of Denmark is the first published, alongside that of Korea, of 17 countries pursuing OECD examinations of their postsecondary vocational training systems as part of the OECD's Skills beyond School exercise.

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Simon Field at OECD's Directorate for Education (tel. +33 1 45 24 18 71).

For more information:

Full country policy reviews are being conducted in Austria, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Israel, Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (England), and the United States (with case studies of Florida, Maryland and Washington State). Shorter exercises leading to an OECD country commentary will be undertaken in Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Iceland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and in Northern Ireland and Scotland in the United Kingdom. Background reports will be prepared in all these countries, and in France, Hungary and Mexico.


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