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2022-08-23 14:39:22

School Happiness in Denmark

 School Happiness in Denmark

It is no secret that the Scandinavian states are considered relatively prosperous in the world. Swedes, Danes and Norwegians, as well as Finns who joined them, compete for the title of the happiest country in the world. This applies to all aspects of society, including education, because it is not for nothing that Denmark and Finland have been sharing the highest positions in Europe in a number of school rankings for many years.

In our today's material, we will talk about what is the secret of happiness, using the example of the Danish school.


You don't have to be the best

The most important thing in the national education system of this country is not to train a person for mechanical passing of tests, but to develop curiosity, interest in life, to promote individual and social development. That's what school is for – for a child to learn self-confidence, that he is valued for his personal qualities. It doesn't matter what your grades are, it matters that you are a good person. Or at least a person - and you can be useful by doing what you love.

This system is not very suitable for forming national elites. But all or almost all students can master it, and among the Danes there are almost no superfluous people. Society is able to take care of 95%, and 5% of elite children will somehow find their way to universal happiness.

The national mentality here has a number of features that allow the system to work. First of all: the Danes do not aspire to leadership, they are very good and comfortable in the team.

It's important to be yourself, not to demonstrate academic success.

The system of education in the school is aimed at educating the individual, moreover, self-sufficient and independent. This is spelled out even in the national legislation on education. So it is written: the system of basic education develops the personality of the student. It all starts with kindergarten. Among other things, preschool institutions should expand the vocabulary, acquaint the child with the social constructions of the team format, make children tolerant and prepare for immersion in real life with all its pros and cons.

Cramming badly

It is believed that children should acquire knowledge themselves – conduct experimental research, work with sources and scientific literature, and not just listen and diligently take notes. Children should be able to question everything and critically comprehend everything, to develop an individual position and personal opinion, which helps to cultivate humanity in them, and for them to realize themselves in an individual capacity.

Among the most useful skills are creativity, critical thinking and initiative. If at the same time you can not remember three pages from the textbook - it does not matter, as long as the head is light.

Equal chances and opportunities

Only a little more than 10% of Danish citizens, choosing a job, consider it important to receive a solid salary. This is due to the fact that the country has the largest taxes on income in the world, and the desire to enrich, in principle, does not make much sense. A pragmatic choice of profession can cause a dramatic internal conflict, while a specialty that can bring satisfaction, even with a lower income, can make a person happier.

For this purpose, a client-oriented system of professional orientation is used. To do this, there is a special service in the structure of the executive branch that helps high school students choose what suits them best. Regular meetings are held that allow students to individually discuss their strategy for the future with the teacher. According to statistics, 52% of young Danish citizens are convinced that their career choice is not predetermined and is associated only with personal preferences. In addition, the country has very developed institutions and tools for social mobility.

Education is free , both secondary and higher, subsidized by the state. Students are even paid a stipend, which is enough for life, and this payment is mandatory for everyone and is not of a social nature.

It is not the result that is important, but the goal

It is important to understand that in traditional measurement systems the system in Denmark does not seem so successful. According to the results of the tests, the country is by no means in the first positions, but it is in the top 10 in terms of education and ranks second in the ranking of national educational systems according to the 2019 version.

It is interesting to note that 72% of students in the country say they are interested in learning; this distinguishes the country from most EU and OECD member states. Although in high school the proportion of children and adolescents who have a negative attitude to study is increasing and approaching the pan-European indicators. On the other hand, even in this there is an undoubted advantage: teenagers do not have a fear of future exams and admission to university.

For those who have not yet decided what they want to become, the education system offers an intermediate stage in the form of an Efterskole preparatory school. Every year, 10-15% of students aged 14 to 18 are enrolled here. They study here for a year, simultaneously deciding where they want to go. At the heart of such a post-school are the principles of mutual assistance and mutual assistance. Yes, yes, you heard right: successful schoolchildren pull up laggards, helping them in socialization and adaptation.

In addition, the country has a unique system of folk schools. It was founded in the century before last by the Lutheran Bishop Nicholas Grundtwig.  You can come here at any age, the program is mainly social sciences and humanities: students travel and discuss the political situation in Europe and the world, form interest groups, ask questions.

The format of communication develops and educates in people the principles of equality and mutual respect, teaches to share and stimulates the need to participate in common projects. The bishop believed that education should be made universally available – and therefore you can study in his school simply because you want it, for fun. In total, there are more than 70 such schools, mainly they are located in the rural hinterland and in the north of Jutland, as well as in Schleswig.

Naturally, there are weaknesses in the system. First of all, it is associated with the risk of not giving enough for development to those children and adolescents who are able to achieve the best results. The national system is geared towards meeting overall demand, so talented and outstanding children may not receive the necessary help and assistance.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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