The Egmont Højskolen (Egmont School)
Egmont Højskolen is a unique school which integrates persons with disabilities into the educational system. Here barriers between the disabled and non-disabled are almost non-existent. Egmont Højskolen is for all persons, but with a special obligation towards people with all types of disability.
The key words at Egmont are:
- Competence: Everyone has competences and qualities and should be as self-reliant as possible.
- Dignity: Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.
- Solidarity: Working together and taking responsibility for each other makes us all stronger.
The school today is characterised by full accessibility, as this has been a major priority over the years. The school has a number of single and double rooms especially designed to suit the needs of people with disabilities, as well as modern and well-equipped class rooms, excellent catering facilities, home helper’s service for people with disabilities, a lecture hall, a gym etc. Today half the students are disabled and the other half are not. Most of the non-disabled students are hired by the disabled to assist them in their daily tasks. Lectures are, to a large extent, differentiated to meet the individual student’s needs and abilities.
The school is very beautifully situated close to forests and beaches on the outskirts of the small sea port of the small town of Hou.
What does “højskolen” mean?
Egmont Højskolen is a so-called “folk high school”. This type of institution is unique to the Scandinavian cultural tradition and has played a key role in the democratic development of Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries. Folk high schools are based on the pedagogical principles formulated by the Danish poet, priest and philosopher N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872). In opposition to the elitist school system of his time, Grundtvig envisioned a democratic “school for life” based on dialogue between teachers and students. The principal task of a ”højskole” is to educate its students for life. By enhancing the command of knowledge, body, intellect, musicality, reflection and creativity, folk high schools aim to make students fully aware of their potentials as human beings and as citizens in a democratic society.
In other words, students seek to shed light on some of the basic questions for people today, both as individuals and as members of society. A folk high school is for adults, which places the emphasis on general, mind-broadening education. Since the founding of the first folk high school in 1844, these institutions have operated outside the formal education system. In accordance with Grundtvig’s ideas, there are no exams, and courses do not prepare students for any specific profession or field of work.
A folk high school is like a small community where students are together 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The students study, eat and attend lessons together. Teaching goes on all day, and afterwards it is possible to join leisure activities and use the school’s many facilities, such as workshops, music rooms, kitchen, sport facilities and computers. Folk high schools are for everyone above the age of 18.