DENMARK. Danish education is to undergo radical reform, based on individual action plans for pupils and closer links with business.
Objectives will be set for schools, classes and subjects, and quality assessment will be introduced. There will be greater emphasis on in-depth knowledge.
Ministers say individual action plans will be compiled for pupils and students. Greater demands will be made on students. Information technology will help them control their learning and work across disciplines and classes.
Teachers and tutors will attend in-service education courses, including work experience. Business people will be expected to function as teachers and trainers. The business community must be better integrated in all courses and have greater representation in higher education administration.
Between 90 per cent and 95 per cent of pupils leaving secondaries will receive a general or vocational education qualification and 50 per cent will go on to higher education (the present figure is 35 per cent).
"Although it is an ambitious target we must be among the 10 best in an international context," said minister of education Ole Vig Jensen. The plans are part of a report on developing a national competence, following round-table discussions between Mr Jensen, educators and business.
Only Pounds 4 million has so far been allocated to the plan for the next four years. The ministry is expecting institutions and the business community to top up funding.
Barriers between pre-school and school teachers will be dismantled, so there can be some teaching in pre-school classes, and more play in the first and second school years.
The action plan includes: pupils' ability to master basics such as reading, writing and calculation at a high level; increased parental involvement; definition of the role of school leaders and evolution of a training programme for them; and better use of the financial and personnel resources.
The educational and business communities are generally positive towards the proposals but pupils and students are lukewarm.
Michael de Laine.