VET and HRD research in European countries > Overview

Denmark  [7]  Review of VET/HRD research

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Current VET/HRD research

The results of the many development projects initiated at the vocational colleges have an immediate impact on the teachers involved in the projects and on their daily practice. Some colleges have been very successful in disseminating project results so that these have an impact beyond the project group and its participants. The Ministry of Education has tried to reduce the encapsulated knowledge by promoting projects involving more colleges and by setting up requirements to the dissemination of project results. In this way, many development projects contribute to the continuous development of practice within the system and of the VET system overall.

As to research projects, these have a more subtle impact. They contribute to the overall discussion on the Danish VET system and may also influence the Ministry's VET policies. In 2005, the Danish Government set up a Council on Globalisation in order to discuss how the Danish society may meet the challenges of globalisation. One working group was set up to deal with the challenges to the VET system. This group included the stakeholders of the system and VET researchers. VET researchers are also involved in research for the social partners. In 2005, focus areas were the dual training principle and its renewal and the vocational basic training programme (EGU). In this area, researchers contributed directly to the policy statements of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO). So undoubtedly, there is interaction between the policy making level and the VET research community. 

Future VET/HRD research

Some issues in VET research have stayed remarkably stable within the last 30 years, i.e. 

  • how to make the VET programmes more attractive to young people (parity of esteem);
  • how to ensure correspondence between VET qualifications and labour market needs;
  • how to keep a balance between state control and market demands.
These issues will remain important in the coming years. On the agenda, in particular,  is the need to make VET more attractive to young people and to avoid drop-out especially among male ethnic minorities. Furthermore, focus is on 
  • the interaction between theory and practice, i.e., how to relate general subjects to practice;
  • flexible and individualised VET: strengths and weaknesses. The drop-out rate has increased since the implementation of Reform 2000, and some researchers point to the high degree of individualisation and the self-responsibility for learning as possible factors for the increase;
  • VET in a lifelong learning perspective;
  • the function of VET in a modern society;
  • globalisation and VET.
Although VET research in recent years has attracted increased attention and more resources, VET research in Denmark is still at an infant stage compared to e.g. Germany. It is an area which is under development and which has increased policy attention due to the importance attached to VET as a means to solve a number of societal problems. However, the research projects are still limited in scope and still a periphery research area compared to basic schooling. 
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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report Denmark (details see Bibliography)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO