The Euroguidance Network

October 2010

In this edition:

The importance of life after school

Interview with Anne Froberg

According to Anne Froberg, the manager of the Centre for Vocational and Educational Guidance in Aalborg, Denmark, one of the main challenges in education is that many Danish teachers are not aware of what their students are going to do after they finish school. The guidance centre collaborates with the teachers to make them understand that what they are teaching is very important for the students later on – not just for the school but for their whole life.
Anne Froberg

“Our centre is one out of about 47 Youth Guidance Centres in Denmark. We are regionally placed, funded and managed. Our main objective is to give educational and vocational guidance to people between 12 and 25, which means that we start while they are still in compulsory education", says Froberg.

"We support them in the transition into youth education and maintain the contact until they have finished their initial youth training at vocational or gymnasium level. We start the initial guidance in collaboration with their teachers. If a person who is under 25 drops out of education, the school is compelled to send us a message. And then right away we will contact the young person and ask ‘why did you stop and how can we help you to get back into education'?"

Parents’ role

According to Anne Froberg, the parents' involvement is important: "That’s one of the very important things in starting the guidance process in the schools. We give the parents a lot of information, we go to parents' meetings and to ‘school-home-liaison meetings’ with individual parents and students".
"Students are so different", Froberg says. "Many of them are very self-assured, very self-confident and have a strong network in family and surroundings for education. The kind of guidance they need is more of informative character. But other students – at the other end of the spectrum – are very low performing in school and they are very insecure. We have an increasing number of young people with medical diagnoses, social problems and learning difficulties. And of course it’s more difficult to find out what education could be relevant for those children”.    

When asked whether she thinks young people with immigration background face special challenges when compared to their peers, Froberg answers: 

“Yes, I think they do, throughout the whole educational system. And I think one of the problems in Denmark is that we are so focused on the question of integration and less focused on the question of education. The focus is very much on how they behave, what they think and how they dress and much less about how they learn and how they perform".

The guidance centre focuses on education, what the students have learned and what are they actually doing in school. "But we often see how little some students with migration background have learned when they are leaving school", Froberg says. "That is a very big challenge, because then they have to catch up with so many things. And the statistics shows that about half of the migrant children leave schools with insufficient competences in reading and writing and maths. That’s really a lot. On local level we are starting a very big in-service training and developing project  - Uddannelsesløft (lift up education) - for teachers and managers in schools and education institutions for bilingual students”.

Measuring the impact of the work

The guidance centre tries to follow each year group of the young people to see if and when they finish their youth education. "We try to collect statistics on what do they do until they finish education. And actually the big national news recently was that the percentage of young people finishing youth education has decreased over the last 10 years. So we are actually not very successful! The percentage of drop-outs after compulsory education or the percentage of young people never starting or never finishing secondary education has increased”.

Readiness for education

“In Denmark we are implementing a new legislation dealing with a new concept – it’s called ‘readiness for education’. So whenever a young person leaves compulsory education and wants to go into a youth educational system we guidance counsellors have to assess if they are ready for that education. One of the problems is that you could have a tendency of being normative about what are career management skills and what is readiness for education. The objective must be to be professional and to be as objective as you can so that it is visible for the citizen what you are actually assessing".

"We have to assess if the young people are personally, socially and skill-wise ready for education. So we have to put into perspective also their person, their motivation, their co-working skills, their ability to go into different social settings and that sort of thing. So this is defined as part of ‘readiness for education’. We are going to do it from the 1st of January 2011 onwards. We are now going through a process of defining how to do it”, Froberg concludes.

Eva Baloch-Kaloianov
Euroguidance Austria

Further information:

Project "Uddannelsesløft"
Centre for Vocational and Educational Guidance, Aalborg

Anne Froberg is the Manager of the Centre for Vocational and Educational Guidance, Aalborg, a local Youth Guidance centre founded in August 2004, with about 40 full-time guidance professionals. The centre is responsible for vocational guidance of students from age 12 – 25 in 7 municipalities.

As a national representative of Denmark in the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network ELGPN Anne Froberg is closely linked to guidance policy at national and European level.

Her broad theoretical and practical knowledge on multilingual and multi-cultural matters concerning children, school, education and integration was gained as the Manager of the Danish Institute for Bilingual and Intercultural Education (2001 – 2004) and as the head of a language school for grown migrants (1999 - 2001). Prior to her work in the department of Education in the Municipality of Aalborg (1987 – 1999) Anne Froberg worked as a teacher and teacher trainer, focussing at the work with bilingual students.

Anne Froberg holds a Master of Arts degree in Learning and Innovative Change at the University of Aalborg.

She has published several Project dossiers, articles and books (in Danish and in English) on Bilingualism, multi-cultural education, and teachers qualifications .