Education in Denmark

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Education in Denmark is compulsory (Danish: undervisningspligt) for children below the age of 15 or 16, even though it is not compulsory to attend Folkeskole ("public school"). The school years up to the age of fifteen/sixteen are known as Folkeskole, since any education has to match the level offered there. About 82% of young people take further education in addition to this.[1] Government-funded education is usually free of charge and open to all. Denmark has a tradition of private schools and about 15.6% of all children at basic school level attend private schools, which are supported by a voucher system.[2][3]

The Education Index, published with the UN's Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Denmark as 0.993, amongst the highest in the world, tied for first with Australia, Finland and New Zealand.[4]

The chief national officer of the education system is Education Minister Christine Antorini (Social Democrats). However, universities are the responsibility of Sofie Carsten Nielsen (Det Radikale Venstre).[5]

Literacy in Denmark is approximately 99% for both men and women.[6]



The first university in Denmark, University of Copenhagen, was established in 1479. The second, University of Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, was established in 1665. When Schleswig-Holstein was conquered by German forces in 1864, the University of Copenhagen was once again the only university in the Kingdom of Denmark and remained so until 1928 when the University of Aarhus was founded. Since then, numerous universities have been established. In addition, there are many independent colleges specializing for instance in educating teachers.

International higher education in Denmark

Danish universities and other Danish higher education institutions also offer international students a range of opportunities for obtaining an internationally recognised qualification in Denmark. Many programmes are taught in English, including Bachelor´s, Master´s, PhD, exchange and summer school programmes.[7]

Tuition and financial aid system

Almost all educational institutes in Denmark are free. This tuition-fee-less system applies to all students who:

  • have been born in Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland); or
  • hold a permanent resident visa; or
  • Permanent residence permit (‘permanent opholdstilladelse’)
  • Temporary residence permit that can be upgraded to a permanent one (‘midlertidig opholdstilladelse mmf varigt ophold’)
  • Residence permit as the accompanying child of a non-EU/EEA parent holding a residence permit based on employment (§9a and §9m of the Danish Aliens Act - text in Danish)
  • hold a humanitarian visa; or
  • are from a country in the Nordic Council; or
  • are from a country in the European Economic Area or European Union.

Not only are students charged no tuition fees, but all Danish citizens (and many others meeting certain criteria) are offered monthly financial aid, known as "SU" (Statens Uddannelsesstøtte, meaning State Educational Support), amounting for each student to about DKK 2,728 monthly if the student lives with his/her parents or guardians, and about DKK 5,486 monthly if the student lives away from his/her parents or guardians.[8] Students can supplement the SU with low-interest government loans amounting to DKK 2,807 per month, which must be paid back upon the completion of their education.[9]

See also


  1. Danmarks Radio: S ønsker mindst 12 års skolegang ("Social Democrats want at least 12 years of education")
  2. Line Madsen Simenstad (2 December 2013) Bølge av private skoler Klassekampen. Retrieved 6 December 2013 (Norwegian)
  4. "Human development indices" (PDF). Human Development Reports. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2010-02-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Minister for Higher Education and Science Sofie Carsten Nielsen". Retrieved 27 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 2003 estimate; according to CIA World Factbook:
  7. "Study in Denmark, official government website on international higher education in Denmark".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. SU rates 2011 (Danish)
  9. SU loan rates 2011 (Danish)

External links