The Danish National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers
Gymnasieskolernes Lærerforening, GL
The Danish National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers, GL, was founded in 1890.
GL organises teachers in the general Upper Secondary Schools in Denmark.
Our 12,000 members all have a university degree.
In Denmark we have an integrated Primary and Lower Secondary school – the “Folkeskole”. After 10-11 years in the “Folkeskole” the pupils can choose between vocational schools (33 per cent’s choice) or a general upper secondary education (66 per cent’s choice).
The general Upper Secondary School system comprises below institutions, all with their own profile:
- The Gymnasium (3 years)
- HF (Higher Preparatory Education, which is taught either for 2 years at Gymnasium schools or at separate adult education centres, VUC)
- HHX (Higher Commercial Examination) (3 years)
- HTX (Higher Technical Examination) (3 years)
Examination from above schools all gives access to further studies at university level.
HHX and HTX, taught at technical Gymnasiums, also prepare for professional activities in the private sector.
GL is the only Danish organisation for teachers in the Gymnasium and HF, but we also organise teachers in general subjects at the HHX and at the HTX, giving us a high organisation rate: approx. 90 per cent. (Teachers at the technical Gymnasiums with a master’s degree in law are organised in DJØF and those educated as engineers are organised in IDA.)
GL’s main purpose is negotiation and counselling for our members with regard to their salary and working conditions, personal assistance towards our members, but also to play an active part in the public educational debate, both with the Ministry of Education, the Parliament, the schools and other interested partners.
Regulations for General Upper Secondary education are regulated on a national basis with a nation-wide set of curriculum and national exams laid down by the Danish Parliament/Ministry of Education.
Danish Upper Secondary Schools are public independent institutions (private foundations) yet with full public financing. Approx. 13 per cent of the general Upper Secondary Schools are private schools, however all subsidised by the state with 86 per cent public funding. (Private schools follow the same national curriculum as public schools and the teachers have the same qualifications, salary and working condition as those employed in the public schools).
Competence to teach in the Danish Upper Secondary Schools presupposes a university degree: main subject plus thesis (i.e. a master’s degree or above) in a subject relevant to the schools. The majority of teachers also have a relevant subsidiary subject at university level.
Within the first two years of employment in the general upper secondary schools the graduate must complete a professional postgraduate teachers’ training programme (full salary paid) where the graduate for a year must teach under supervision, teach own classes, and follow theoretical pedagogic courses.
Conditions of the planning of the teachers’ working hours are laid down in the Collective Agreement. The Collective Agreement states the overall basic conditions at a national level, whereas the local conditions are negotiated either in the local administrative district (county) or at the school.
An increasing number of economic and administrative decisions are decentralised to the schools. Nowadays our local union representatives will negotiate with the principals regarding approx. 6 per cent of the salaries and part of the time the teachers are allocated time for preparing lessons etc. There are no negotiations between the individual teacher and the principal regarding salary and working conditions.
Teachers have the same working hours as are generally applied to the Danish labour market: 1,924 hours per year including holidays (37 hours in 52 weeks). For teachers at the non-vocation schools (Gymnasium/HF/VUC) each lesson of 45 minutes counts approx. 2 hours when working hours are added up on a yearly basis. Teachers are allocated separate time to correct the students papers - in total up to 20 per cent of the teachers workload, depending on subject.
GL’s Committee of Representatives, approx. 340 teachers, hold Assemblies (Congress) in November (2 days).
Each school with more than 15 members can choose 1 delegate to the Committee of Representatives. Smaller schools may go into election association with others, and moreover various committees can choose 2 delegates.
The Central Board, 13 members, is elected for a period of two years by a secret vote in November/December in odd years. The Central Board elects one of their members as President/Chairman at the first meeting after the election.
An Executive Committee is chosen from the Central Board.
GL’s bylaws and constitution can only be changed by ballot by all members. 2/3 of the members must be in favour of the changes.
GL cooperates with Danish as well as international organisations of teachers, of pupils, cultural- and governmental institutions etc.
GL is a member of:
Danish Ministry of Education
IU, Danish Agency for International Education who deals with recognition of foreign qualifications