Quality assurance in Denmark is primarily based on internal evaluation (self-assessment), and even though the Ministry of Children and Education may inspect VET providers, this is only done in cases where grave problems have been diagnosed. Reporting to the Ministry is furthermore only required – in line with the principle of deregulation – on six basic criteria or indicators, which are all outcome-oriented:
- Test and examination results
- Completion rates
- Completion times
- Drop-out rates and times
- Transition rates to other education programs
- Transition rates to the labour market
The VET provider will report to the Ministry on these criteria electronically, and in the event of consistently bad figures, the latter will enter into a dialogue with the provider in order to rectify the situation. Actual, physical inspections are very rare. However, all VET providers are required by law to have a quality management system, based on the quality circle, which ensures that they evaluate the programs and courses they offer on a regular basis. The results of these evaluations must be made available on their websites. Users can then orient themselves on the quality of the courses and make their choices accordingly. Due to the taximeter principle of funding, providers therefore have a strong financial incentive to maintain high standards of quality.
At system level, the Ministry of Children and Education has set up an evaluation institute – the Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA) – which carries out evaluations of subjects, initiatives and innovative aspects of reform at the request of the Ministry or other stakeholders. Another ministerial initiative at the national level is the so called “quality patrol”, which regularly visits VET providers not to carry out inspections, but to identify examples of good practice which it can disseminate to other schools in order to increase the overall quality of VET provision across the country.
VET institutions will often receive feedback very directly on the quality of their performance from their users, as these are free to choose where to go to do their training. Even though the majority still attend the nearest VET institutions, many are also prepared to move or travel in order to enrol in institutions with a reputation for offering quality training. As VET institutions are paid per student (the taximeter principle), this can have a marked impact on the financial bottom line.
Part from the Danish quality assurance system Denmark participate and support the Common European Tools for recognition and quality assurance of VET across Europe including:
- The European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
- EUROPASS, including Certificate Supplement
- European vocational education and training system (ECVET)
- European Quality Assurance Framework for Vocational Education (EQAVET)
- Quality assurance in the Danish VET-system: http://www.eqavet.eu/gns/what-we-do/implementing-the-framework/denmark.aspx