6.10 Current debates and reforms
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Forthcoming policy developments
In the autumn of 2021, the main stakeholders working in the field of primary school education agreed to establish a cooperation called ‘Sammen om skolen’ – loosely translated as ‘Cooperation about the school’. The cooperation aims to bring together teachers, pedagogues, pupils, school leaders, parents, municipalities and politicians to discuss the challenges and possible solutions of the primary school together. The objective of ‘Sammen om Skolen’ is to solve the challenges and problems in the primary and lower secondary school quietly and thoroughly.
The cooperation has so far resulted in a new political agreement on the grading system called ‘New evaluation and rating system in primary and lower secondary school’ (Nyt evaluerings og bedømmelsessystem). The agreement, reached on 29 October 2021, will contribute to a stronger evaluation culture in the primary school and create transparency in the tests for students, parents and teachers. The initiatives in the agreement will gradually begin from the school year 2022/2023 to 2026/2027.
Young people’s well-being is a major issue in Denmark, and it is discussed among stakeholders in the field of education and training.
During the coronavirus lockdown, several representatives from education institutions as well as politicians, youth organisations, researchers and young people have expressed concern over young people’s well-being. When schools and leisure activities are closed and restrictions reduce the number of social contacts, young people feel isolated in their families. The isolation gives rise to loneliness, insecurity and unhappiness.
For socially marginalised young people, it is particularly disturbing to be isolated with parents whose ability to care is reduced. This may be the case in families suffering from abuse, alcohol problems, violence, etc. The isolation may aggravate young people’s situation, since the support from pedagogues, teachers and other important adults is missing.
Therefore, a majority of parliamentary parties agreed on a number of initiatives to be implemented before the summer of 2021. The agreement opened up for shorter outdoor meetings in permanent well-being groups with up to four students and a teacher/pedagogue. In addition, a total of DKK 88 million is set aside to strengthen students’ well-being. Of this, DKK 44 million is targeted at Pedagogical Psychological Counseling (PPR) for initiatives for students at risk of decreasing well-being.
At the same time, some education institutions, politicians and young people have expressed concern that the online teaching in spring 2020 and autumn/winter 2020/2021 has created a learning gap with the result that students may not be as well prepared for the exams as usual. Therefore, the Danish government has invested DKK 295 million (EUR 39.7 million) to deal with academic challenges resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions in 2021. Schools, educational institutions and municipalities have been given more freedom to organise and adapt teaching to local conditions. In addition, DKK 12 million (EUR 1.6 million) was invested in an online guest teacher programme engaging celebrities for children and the young to create an enjoyable learning experience.