During the integration program, the municipalities are required to offer free Danish language education. This takes place at local language schools (sprogskole), run either by private companies or public agencies.
There are 3 parallel educations, which are organized according to the students’ ability to learning Danish. Danish Education 1 (DU1), leading to Prøve i Dansk 1 (PD1) is offered to the students who have no or very limited educational background or have limited learning ability because of past trauma. DU2 (leading to PD2) is offered to students who have a normal educational background, and DU3 (leading to PD3) is offered to students who have a higher education from their country of origin and often speak several languages already. The three educations are organized in modules, as you pass step by step. Module 6 is the last module and PD3 includes a special exam, which gives access to higher education in Denmark. Read more about the language education at Sprogcenter, in Danish.
Students do not choose which of the three Danish educations they want to take and a student does not continue from DU1 to DU2 but instead takes a final exam after completing DU1. However, some students manage to switch from DU1 to DU2 along the way, or take Danish classes at the Adult Education Center (VUC) afterwards. It is also possible to got to DU2 after finishing DU1 if you pay some education fees, but not many manage to do so. However, a number of refugees continue to VUC efter graduating from DU2, and in this way accessing the normal Danish education system.
Around 15% follow DU1, 50% are in DU2 and 35% in DU3.
Students do not choose how many hours they have to spend at the language school. Together, the local job center and the refugee him/herself plan for the language education, and hopefully, the plan will also include an internship or job training. Most refugees start at the language school 3 times per week at 4 hours. The refugees who want to learn Danish faster and request more hours might not necessarily be allowed to do so. Not all municipalities offer help with homework. Thus, there are limits to how fast a refugee can learn Danish, regardless of their motivation and desire.
Read more in our longer article about language school and Danish education.