Once children have become old enough to attend school, most go to a state school, but some opt for Private education. Even here, though, the state subsidises this to the tune of about 80% of the cost. It is accepted that the majority of students at these schools have wealthier parents than the average, but certainly not to anything like the same degree as it is in the United Kingdom; they are much more mixed and the result is that the students grow up more able to mix with others from different social backgrounds. This is just one of the factors that lessen the class consciousness which is still so prevalent in Britain.
Another factor is the strength of the trade unions in Denmark, which has resulted in a much smaller disparity in income between people in different occupations.
The school curriculum also promotes social mixing by emphasising the importance of society, independence and cooperation with others. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own thoughts about politics, and although their teachings have been criticised as being less academic than they should be the Danes believe that it is just as important to teach people to be well-rounded, happy human beings who are more likely to help others than to actively compete against them.
After high school about 10% of Danes go on to what is called a continuation school, which is yet again partly state sponsored. This is a boarding school which, although it does practice a basic academic curriculum, concentrates more on creativity such as art, music, drama and sport. The purpose is to give their students extra interests in life, other than simply academic ones.
Many students then go on to university. In contrast to the United Kingdom, in which a university education can be financially ruinous, in Denmark it is not only free but the students are actually paid to attend. Danish taxpayers do not look upon university students as a liability; they recognise that in the future, those same students will be the ones who will be paying for their pensions!
A popular next step in education is the folk high school, for which half of the fees are paid for by the state. These are boarding schools for adults, who usually stay for a few months, but sometimes for much longer. They are not so much establishments for learning academic subjects, but more centres of enlightenment in which, through mutual respectful dialogue, teachers and pupils could learn from each other.
There is no fixed curriculum, although classes in dancing, singing, ceramics, painting, acting, philosophy and debate are usually available. Pupils are encouraged to co-operate as part of a group, rather than individually. Chores such as cooking and cleaning are shared jointly. Attendance at classes is not mandatory but absenteeism is rare.
There is no upper age limit for attendance; and students are not only free to study any available subject they wish but to actually question the conclusions of the teachers. No qualifications are necessary and no exams are taken.
Students are encouraged to develop in their own way at their own pace, whilst becoming more aware of the world around them, and more adept at functioning within a group.