9.4 Raising awareness about global issues
On this page
On this page
Awareness raising about global issues in general upper secondary educations programmes (Stx, Hhx, Htx and Hf)
There are four general upper secondary education programmes in Denmark.
- Higher General Examination programme (STX programme)
- Higher Commercial Examination programme (HHX Programme)
- Higher Technical Examination Programme (HTX Programme)
- and Higher Preparatory Examination Programme (HF Programme)
The Act on General Upper Secondary Education states that students should acquire an understanding of global perspectives. All subjects must include aspects of cultural and global understanding, with particular attention to the following global issues:
- Geological processes and human use of resources
- Climate change and society’s influence on climate
- Innovation, sustainable living and use of resources
- Sustainable living under various social and natural conditions
- Energy resources of the earth
- UN Development Goals
- Rights in a democratic society
- Gender equality
- Decision-making processes from a global perspective
- World religions
- International cooperation, conflict and power dynamics
Global issues are an integrated part of other subjects such as history, nature geography, biology, religion and social science.
In the Higher General Examination programme, the following subjects are mandatory: history, nature geography, biology, religion, social science and a basic course in science.
In the Higher Technical Examination Programme the following subjects are mandatory: biology, social science and a basic course in science.
In the Higher Commercial Examination programme social science and history are mandatory.
The basic course in science is mandatory in the first three months of the Higher General Examination programme and Higher Technical Examination Programme. The basic course introduces the students to various subjects in science, for instance, current issues relevant to the field of science. Issues such as climate change may be relevant.
Awareness raising about global issues in non-formal learning
The Danish Youth Council (DUF) administers four international projects/programmes that support partnerships between Danish youth organisations and youth on OECD’s DAC list (countries eligible to receive official development assistance).
Some of the measures include exchange and mobility opportunities, some include volunteering opportunities and most focus on the enhancement of international engagement among young people. This is done, among other things, via information activities throughout the country and supporting capacity building of youth organisations seeking international engagement. In 2021, DUF initiated 145 counselling meetings and 24 international learning activities for member organisations. Furthermore, the youth delegates, mentioned in section 9.3, held 73 information activities in which they debated global issues with more than 3 000 young people.
DUF’s international initiatives are described in section 9.6.
All the initiatives are funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights has developed six online modules on human rights. The modules consist of text, exercises and quizzes. Furthermore, the institute arranges civil society courses (civilsamfundskurser) aimed at organisations and NGOs for whom human rights are relevant in their work. The following are examples of courses as of March 2021:
- Religion and human rights from a national and international perspective
- Equal treatment and non-discrimination – it concerns us all
- Children’s rights
The Danish Institute for Human Rights is publicly funded.
The Danish folk high schools (højskole), university extensions, evening schools and continuation schools all receive public funding and may offer non-formal and informal learning activities concerning global issues. Climate change, sustainable living and projects/cooperation with developing countries are among the topics taught. The organisations and institutions arrange the content, teaching methods and target group themselves.
Furthermore, several organisations receive public funding for non-formal learning activities relevant to global issues, especially sustainable living, consumption and green living.
Oxfam Ibis runs a Development Goal Ambassador learning programme. Here, young people learn about the UN Development Goals and how to communicate complex global issues. The newly qualified development goal ambassadors make presentations at public primary and lower secondary schools (folkeskole) and folk high schools (højskoler). Furthermore, young people may engage as volunteers in the association.
In 2010, the green think tank Concito developed a Junior Climate Ambassador training programme in cooperation with the municipality of Copenhagen. The training programme equips young persons in lower secondary education to develop a more sustainable society. The training programme consists of four aspects:
- Knowledge about the climate, environment and sustainable development
- Competency development that equips young people to become agents of change
- Action – execution of projects/campaigns and strategies
- Evaluation with a focus on further development
The development of the training programme was funded by the Ministry of Environment’s ‘Pool for Green enthusiasts’. The pool no longer exists.
Furthermore, Concito trains young climate ambassadors who give presentations and host workshops about climate and sustainable living at primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools.
MS ActionAid is a non-governmental organisation that works to combat poverty, hunger and discrimination in the world. The organisation offers opportunities for voluntary work in Denmark, for instance, in the programme World Class. In the programme, young people visit schools and give presentations on global issues.
The Danish Family Planning Association (Sex og Samfund) is a non-governmental organisation in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. The association works to promote the universal right to decide over one’s own body and sexuality, to increase access to contraceptives and sexuality education, and also to fight against maternal mortality and discrimination against LGBT+ people. The organisation produces teaching materials and offers educational courses aimed at primary, lower secondary and upper secondary at the website It’s my body (Det er min krop). The website contains articles, videos and pictures that can be used in schools. Subjects targeting young people are, for example, the body, boundaries, online sharing of pictures, discrimination, norms and gender. Furthermore, young people may engage as volunteers in the association.
Operation A Day’s Work (Operation Dagsværk) is a global humanitarian organisation, run by students, that aims to support developing countries. The organisation offers opportunities for voluntary work in Denmark.
Green Flag is an environmental education programme promoting sustainable development. Schools can sign up for a green flag, which implies that the school has established an environment council at the school. The council must develop a vision and an action plan for green and sustainable work in the school. Furthermore, every school with a green flag must report on their activities and submit an audit where the school’s environmental impact is assessed. Examples of green flag themes are energy, climate change, sustainable consumption, transportation, waste, chemicals, organics production, water, nature, sustainable development of cities and outdoor activities. The Green Flag programme covers primary and secondary education institutions, continuation schools, upper secondary education institutes and teacher training programmes. The programme is developed by the Outdoor Council.
Denmark does not have a primary programme within informal learning aiming to help young people learn about global issues. Informal learning about global issues takes place in youth organisations, in interest organisations such as the environmental movement, organisations involved in development assistance, human rights, etc. These organisations may be entitled to public support, for instance, financial support for specific projects, but are non-public, independent organisations.
Training of educators on the subject of global issues in Denmark
In Denmark, there is no continuous training and certification offered to teachers, trainers, non-formal education workers or youth workers related to the promotion of global issues among young people. However, various teaching materials and networking opportunities are available to teachers.
The digital platform EMU provides teaching materials for teachers at all levels of formal education. The platform offers inspiration and specific teaching modules. As of August 2019, materials are provided on topics such as climate change, sustainable living, UN Development Goals and human rights. The platform is under the auspices of the Ministry of Children and Education.
Several organisations and independent state institutions produce teaching materials for courses in formal education.
For example, World’s Best News runs the learning portal ‘World Lesson’. The project aims to promote knowledge and understanding of global issues and the UN Development Goals to children and young people in Denmark. World Lesson takes place for one week in September, but schools and education institutions can choose to participate for one day or to use the teaching materials during the year. World Lesson produces free teaching materials for primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary education institutions. Furthermore, World’s Best News runs a school website where students can get inspiration and information regarding the UN Development Goals.
Oxfam Ibis runs a school service aimed at primary and lower secondary education. The offered materials consist of:
- Free presentations by the Oxfam development goal ambassadors
- A roleplay – a platform with information about development goals
- Project Reading Rocket, which is a book that focuses on children’s conditions around the world and online exercises
- Project Agent Footprint, which provides teaching materials concerning climate, the environment and development that can be used in science subjects, mathematics, social science subjects, geography and biology.
Operation A Day’s Work (Operation Dagsværk) produces teaching materials for upper secondary education. The materials are updated every year and match the current year’s topic. The teaching materials in 2019 focused on, for example, people with disabilities with special attention to Uganda. The teaching materials can be used in English, sports and social science. Furthermore, young volunteers make presentations for students in upper secondary education institutions.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights (Institut for menneskerettigheder) manages a learning portal with free teaching materials aimed at primary, lower secondary and upper secondary instructions as well as university colleges that educate pedagogues and teachers. The material consists of specific courses on, for instance, freedom of speech and racism, democracy and political ideologies. Furthermore, the institute provides small online videos and games to inform students or help them reflect on their own position. The materials can be used in formal education and also in organisations and NGOs for whom human rights are a vital part of their work.
Astra is the national centre for learning in science, technology and health in Denmark. Astra develops, records and shares new knowledge, which enables Danish science teachers to both ignite and maintain students’ interest in science. Some of the focus areas are engineering and developmental goals for sustainable development. Teachers at all levels are supported and have easy access to new inspiration.
Furthermore, Astra has established networks for science teachers at different educational levels.
Concito is a non-governmental green think tank. Concito provides science- and knowledge-based analyses and information on the most effective and cost-efficient transition towards a climate-safe society in Denmark and other parts of the world. Concito manages a platform, the Climate Embassy, aimed at children and young people. Concito has developed teaching materials with workshops and guided tours. Furthermore, Concito has entered a partnership with 15 municipalities where Concito is responsible for developing a green curriculum that supports teachers and municipalities in promoting STEM subjects. The curriculum is supported by digital materials/teaching materials.
Danish Family Planning Association (Sex og Samfund) offers teaching materials about sexuality, sexual health, boundaries, consent, gender, the body and identity.
The Green Flag environment education programme promotes sustainable development and covers primary and secondary education institutions, continuation schools, upper secondary education institutions and the teacher training programme. Inspiration for teachers is available on the Green Flag website.
On the website World Class (Verdensklasse), the organisation MS ActionAid provides teaching materials on UN Sustainable Development goals and offers workshops, presentations and guided city tours.
UNESCO sustainable development goals school (UNESCO Verdensmålsskoler) is part of the global network, UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network. All schools are obliged to work with global citizenship and sustainable development. The teaching involves topics such as intercultural competencies, human rights, climate and environment. As of January 2023, 85 Danish schools of all levels have participated in the network.
Climateaction.now (klimakamp.nu) offers free teaching materials and guidance to science teachers in primary and lower secondary schools regarding teaching the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Operation A Day’s Work (ODW) (Operation Dagsværk): ODW is an international student movement. Each year, the Danish student organisation runs a campaign focusing on international aid and societal issues in one country. The ODW information campaign takes place in upper secondary education institutions.
ODW consists of two interconnected components - an information campaign and the ODW day. Every year, young volunteers in ODW produce teaching materials for the upper secondary education institutions.
Dialogue meetings: The Danish Youth Council hosts a range of dialogue meetings for young people. At the meetings, the UN delegates discuss the progress made within three areas: democracy and partnerships, climate and environment and equality and SRSR. UN Development Goals and human rights are a recurring theme at the meetings. For more information about the UN delegate programme, see section 9.3.
World’s Best News (Verdens bedste nyheder) is an independent media platform for constructive journalism and creative campaigns. World’s Best News publishes news about progress and solutions to the world’s challenges, primarily focusing on developing countries.
World’s Best News uses several channels and methods to inform children, young people and adults. World’s Best News hosts events, discusses journalism and development in mainstream media, gives presentations and reaches out to schools with the project World Lesson (Verdenstimen).
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen) runs the My Environment website, with information about the environment and nature. The website offers short and action-oriented advice regarding the environment and nature via articles, videos, competitions, and quizzes. The objective is to make it easier for Danes to avoid chemicals, live healthily, avoid food waste, etc. On the website, three special sections are aimed at teenagers:
- Teenagers and how to avoid perfume allergy
- Environment teenage guide: A teenage guide to reducing one’s environmental impact. The guide contains short articles, a quiz, links to further reading and links to YouTube videos from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency
- ‘Chemicals should not be fashionable’ is a campaign focusing on the use of chemicals in the fashion industry
The project aims to promote knowledge and understanding of global issues and the UN Development Goals among children and young people in Denmark. World Lesson takes place for one week in September, but schools and education institutions can choose to participate for one day or use the teaching materials during the year. World Lesson produces free teaching materials for primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary education institutions.
Since 2010, the Danish independent media platform World’s Best News has distributed free newspapers with information about the progress in developing countries. The World’s Best Morning takes place once a year, one morning in September.
Operation A Day’s Work (Operation dagsværk) consists of two interrelated activities, an information campaign and a day in November when young people in upper secondary education institutions skip school and work for the project.
Although not a state-subsidised organisation, an initiative under the Danish society for Nature Conservation (Danmarks Naturfredningsforening) is worth mentioning. The initiative is a national collection of waste (affaldsindsamlingen) in nature. The objective of the initiative is to highlight how much waste we produce in Denmark. In 2022, more than 200 000 volunteers participated in the event and collected 97 000 kg of waste. Schools and local organisations can sign up and initiate a local collection of waste. On the website of the national collection of waste are free teaching materials and schools can download posters and diplomas.