An ever-growing number of youngsters are missing over 20 days of school every year. According to figures from the Education Ministry that have been cited in an investigation by DR Nyheder, absenteeism has increased across all grades and schools in Denmark.
The highest level of absenteeism was at Vejle Midtby Skole in Jutland, where students missed an average 20.5 days of school during the 2012-13 school year. That's the equivalent of those students missing an entire year of their education from grade 0 to 9.
“Twenty days per year is very worrying,” Andreas Rasch-Christensen, the head of research at VIA University College, told DR Nyheder. “It is damaging both academically and socially if a student misses that much school.”
Counselors called in
Anne Gulbech Schmidt, the head teacher at Vejle Midtby Skole, said she was aware that her school has high absenteeism problems.
“We have a group of students who are very hard to get to go to school,” Schmidt told DR Nyheder. “We have a few students who do not come and have become disenchanted with school.”
The school has employed a professional counsellor to talk to the families of the students who are missing too much school.
“Students who miss too much school are simply not as talented as their peers who attend, and they risk being ostracised by the community,” said Rasch-Christensen.
The average student in Denmark misses around 11.4 days of school each year: 6.8 due to illness, 3.0 due to leave of absence days and 1.6 absent without permission.