6.7 Skills for innovation
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Innovation in general upper secondary education in Denmark
In August 2017, the Ministry of Children and Education launched a 2-year initiative with exams in innovative competences. The objective of the initiative is to collect experiences with a change in examination methods and to uncover how education institutions can develop innovative competences in teaching. Eighteen classes participated in the initiative.
With the reform of general upper secondary educations in 2016, education institutions are required to bring focus on innovative competences. The focus on innovative competences is part of other relevant subjects.
Innovation in vocational education and training (VET) programmes in Denmark
In the first part of the basic programme (grundforløb 1), students are taught about innovation. In the VET subject Innovation, students develop competences to work innovatively in relevant working processes. Through practical problem-solving, students learn to enter into innovation processes that are relevant in the specific VET programme. The acquisition of innovative methods and problem-solving are the topics addressed in the subject. The subject Innovation should form the basis of the student’s ability to consider and assess new and alternative ideas in problem-solving, and thus strengthen the student’s experimental and investigative practice. Furthermore, the objective of the subject is that the students work in teams and develop the ability to work with innovative processes in relation to realistic problems.
The platform EMU.dk is the Ministry of Children and Education’s digital learning platform. On the platform, teachers and pedagogues from primary and lower secondary school (folkeskole), general and vocational upper secondary school, and adult education can find inspiration in the material provided. EMU publishes knowledge and best practice related to all subjects. Furthermore, teachers can find written, audio, and video material for teaching activities, tools, and ideas for lesson plans presented.
In 2017, nine knowledge centres (partnerships between several VET colleges) were established within seven cross-disciplinary technology and vocational areas. Knowledge centres are obliged to cooperate with other VET colleges that are not part of the partnership.
The objectives of the establishment of the knowledge centres are:
- The knowledge centres should support the other VET colleges in their work with the digitalisation of education programmes because of new technologies and develop and test new lesson plans (undervisningsforløb).
- To contribute to the objective of professionally challenging all students in VET programmes
- To educate students in VET to be able to handle the technological development and to match the competences that business demands for a digital labour market.
- Lend prestige to VET programmes and thereby attract more advantaged young people to VET programmes.
- To better utilise the VET colleges’ framework conditions, including knowledge sharing and cooperation.
The tasks of the nine knowledge centres are:
- To ensure that each of the nine knowledge centres’ special capacity within the area of technology and digitalisation benefits all students enrolled in the VET programmes covered by the knowledge centre.
- To develop and communicate new lesson plans (undervisningsforløb) and teaching materials within the areas covered by the knowledge centre.
- Integrate new technology in the teaching in the VET programmes with inspiration from the FabLab concept.
- Establish networks for teachers in the VET colleges.
- Build and communicate expert knowledge on new technologies and ensure that teachers’ competences regarding technology are upgraded.
- Set up talent development programmes and talent development in cooperation with VET colleges, business, regional growth environments, other education institutions, and existing knowledge and technology centres.
- Develop and test new ways of cooperation within the area of new technology and talent development.
- Offer training camps prior to competitions.
- Enter into partnerships with higher education institutions.
- Contribute to capacity building across the nine knowledge centres by sharing knowledge and cooperating.
- The purchase of and maintenance of highly specialised equipment, which is not economically possible to purchase for the individual VET colleges.
The seven cross-disciplinary technology and vocational areas are:
- Automation and robot technology
- Welfare technology
- Process technology
- Craftmanship – design and architecture
- Craftmanship – sustainability, climate renovation, and construction
- Digital trade
- Data-based services and business development
The Ministry of Children and Education funds the project with 133 million DKK. The project period is from 2017 to 2020. Each year from 2018 to 2020, 0.5 million DKK is allocated to a joint knowledge centre portal. The portal ensures that the experience, knowledge, and material developed by the nine knowledge centres benefit all VET teachers and students. An evaluation of the knowledge centres will be conducted in 2019.
In April 2020, a majority in the Danish parliament decided to fund the nine knowledge centres until 2024. The minister of children and education allocates DKK 143.5 million in the 2020-2024 period.
In Denmark, innovation is very closely linked to entrepreneurship. In the Strategy for Education and Training in Entrepreneurship from 2010 (see section 3.8), entrepreneurship is defined as innovation for commercial purposes. Furthermore, the 2020-2025 strategy of the Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship states that creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are key concepts in the understanding of entrepreneurship.
The Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship is a key actor in both formal and non-formal learning.
See section 3.8 for a description of entrepreneurship in formal and non-formal learning.
See section 8.5 for a description of the developing of cultural and creative competences.
See section 8.6 for a description of developing entrepreneurial skills through culture.
There is no national programme aimed at fostering the capacities for innovation of young people through non-formal and informal learning. However, there are national pools of funding (profits from the national lottery and football pools/Udlodningsmidlerne) that may support innovation in youth associations. The Danish Youth Council administers the part of the profits from the national lottery and football pools (udlodningsmidlerne) targeting youth organisations, see section 2.1.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Culture supports education institutions within non-formal learning, for instance the folk high schools (højskoler). Folk high schools can initiate innovation projects, but it is not established at national level.