Dreng der står trist på en skolegang

Absenteeism is solved together

Empty chairs have unfortunately become more common in classrooms across Denmark. High absenteeism can be a sign that children are struggling and need help.

Support for children and young people

Ella felt sick to her stomach when Monday was approaching again. Filip developed symptoms of stress and was out of school for almost two years. This is how two children tell the Danish children’s welfare organisation Børns Vilkår (in English The Conditions of Children) about their experiences with absenteeism in ‘Fortællinger om en hverdag uden skolegang’ (Tales of an everyday life without school).

In the 2018/2019 school year, more than 75,000 children had an absence rate of over 10%. That equates to 20 school days in a year. By 2022-2023, the number had reached 100,000 children with an absence rate of more than 10%. 

Children and young people with high levels of absenteeism are at risk of getting lower grades in the primary school final exam and are less likely to start and complete a youth education. In 2019, Egmont therefore entered into a partnership with Børns Vilkår to reduce absenteeism.

For many children, absence is not the problem, but rather the child’s solution to a problem. Børns Vilkår therefore emphasises that adults must be good at showing that they are curious about what the child is responding to. 

Børns Vilkår tomme stole

Empty chairs on the castle square

In addition to developing specific tools for parents, schools and municipalities, Børns Vilkår has aimed to influence the agenda in the Danish Parliament. 

In connection with the opening of the Danish Parliament in 2020, Børns Vilkår placed hundreds of empty chairs in front of Christiansborg. Each chair represented a child who does not attend school. On the chairs were real quotes from children explaining why they were absent.

The campaign received a lot of publicity and international recognition. Unfortunately, the challenge has not yet been solved, which is why we at Egmont are excited to have extended our collaboration with Børns Vilkår, so that we can reduce absenteeism and get happy children back to school. 

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