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Scan Magazine  |  Education Feature  |  Efterskoleforeningen

Enlightenment for life The ‘efterskole’ is a unique Danish independent and residential school for young people between 14 and 18 years of age. Currently, more than 27,000 students attend one of the approximately 245 schools spread across Denmark and the schools are open to students from abroad.

democratic citizenship. The efterskole has something to offer educationally as well as socially, because the students live together.

By Efterskoleforeningen  |  Photos: Faaborgegnens Efterskole

It can perhaps be said that the teachers who work at an efterskole are not entirely ordinary. They are prepared to involve aspects of themselves other than the professional, so that the pupils have a positive relationship with the teachers. The teacher is responsible for both teaching and supervision outside of school hours. This means that teachers and students are together all day from the time the students wake up until they go to bed. This often engenders a close, personal and non-formal relationship between students and teachers – something Grundtvig himself would most certainly approve of.

Historically and culturally, the efterskole is related to the Danish free school movement and is often regarded as a junior form of the Danish folkehøjskole (folk high school). It is closely related to the educational ideas of N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872), who wanted schools to provide enlightenment for life rather than formal vocational training. The first few efterskoler were founded about 150 years ago and, especially within the last 25 years, the number of students has increased considerably. Most efterskoler offer the same subjects and final examinations as state schools, but many focus on special subjects such as physical education, music or theatre, 26  |  Issue 95  |  December 2016

or offer various kinds of special education. Compared to a regular state school, the efterskole has substantial freedom in terms of, for example, the choice of subjects, the teaching methods and the educational approach. These vary in accordance with the school’s political, religious and pedagogical orientation. The freedom of the efterskole is assured by substantial state subsidies to both schools and students. Each efterskole is a self-governing independent institution, and they all deal with both the educational and personal development of the students. They embrace a common educational focus on enlightenment for life, general education and

For more information, please visit: www.efterskole.dk/english


Scan Magazine, Issue 95, December 2016