FO-Aarhus - Free Education Association- is one of the Danish education associations. These associations were initiated by the four oldest Danish political parties respectively. Today party affiliation may be seen only in board membership.
"Frit Oplysningsforbund" was founded in 1952 by members of Det Radikale Venstre - The Social Liberal Party - with the object of broadening public enlightenment in general and working for public acceptance of the ideals of the UN.
Night School - Evening Classes
The "traditional" leisure time education for adults still take an important role in the activities of FO-Aarhus
In August every year FO-Aarhus publishes courses (www.fo.dk) on a wide range of subjects such as foreign languages, history, Danish and foreign literature, psychology, astrology, handiwork, cooking, music, singing, and many more.
Most classes still take place after working hours but week-end courses and daytime teaching are in great demand as well.
Classes are placed all over the greater Aarhus area mostly in public school rooms. In general students don't have to travel far to attend their classes.
Normally it takes 14 participants to start a class. This also means that any group of 14 people can contact FO-Aarhus and have a class or course opened to them on the required subject as long as this subject is an acknowledged popular enlightenment subject.
All the tuition offered by the educational associations is non-formal which means that there are no exams. This is in accordance with the public enlightenment concept based on the ideals of the particular Danish Popular High Schools as laid down by the founder of public enligtenment N.F.S. Grundtvig, priest, historian, philosopher ....
- to create self confidence and possibilities of knowledge, capability, and action.
Danish education associations are NGOs operating under the Public Enlightenment Act of 1991. They are private organisations partly funded by local authorities.
In the beginning it was the object of the education associations to offer improvement of basic skills in Danish, courses in foreign languages, mathematics, history, handiwork, and music.
But today, understanding our body and mind, understanding our society and its laws, understanding our computer and its software, understanding those who are different from ourselves, are subjects of increasing importance.
And joint ventures with public services to offer unemployed people opportunities to return to the labour market have become numerous.
Projects of this kind have become a speciality with FO-Aarhus. Many of them aim at offering education to immigrants thus paving their way to integration into the Danish association.
The Danish education associations in general have become important partners in combatting unemployment and in the integration of foreigners.
Examples of initiatives and projects initiated by FO-Aarhus.
Wemens lives (Dayschool For Women)
Entrance 2 - for street kids
(approx. numbers per year)
- 45000 lessons
- 5000 participants
- 250 teachers
- 40 subjects
FO-Aarhus co-operates with various other schools for adult education.
FO-Aarhus has initiated a number of major projects which eventually have taken on a life of their own.
FO-Aarhus is in joint ventures with a number of public services.
FO-Aarhus is a local division of the national association FORA - training network (www.fora.dk) (formerly the FO national union) and was founded by a circle of members of the political party Det radikale Venstre. The Aarhus division was founded in 1973 and initially consisted of evening classes, usually known as main area 1.
Since then, activities have expanded greatly. During the 80s and especially the 90s, much has happened, with the implementation of an increasing number of all-day teaching projects, usually called main area 2. FO-Aarhus is managed by a board which has appointed committees for activities and finances.
Main area 1: Evening classes
During the first decade of FO-Aarhus, activity wasn't intense, but catalogues were printed and classes were completed annually. Gradually, the amount of up-and-running classes expanded, and presently, more than 25 years on, we produce a comprehensive four-colour program with a wide range of evening classes and lectures, including exercise, needlecraft, IT, languages, cooking, crafts, navigation, music, culture, and religion.
Every year, spring and autumn catalogues (www.fo.dk) are made, along with a lecture package featuring lectures for the elderly (foredrag.fo-aarhus.dk ). In addition you can read the magazine NICOLAI on http://nicolai.fo-aarhus.dk/. Evening class teachers elect a representative with voting rights to the board of FO-Aarhus.
Main area 2: Projects
Since the 1980s, FO-Aarhus has run a wide range of projects (projekter.fo-aarhus.dk ). Some of these are going on more than ten years:
- Projects for refugees and immigrants, e.g. Vision and Insight, Half Heaven, Arabesque, and Words and Life.
- Projects with practical as well as theoretical activities, like Water and Woods and The Clean Team.
- Projects focusing on computers, e.g. Propylon.
- Projects for underprivileged groups, e.g. The Creative Workshop for late developers, Project Fast Lane for former drug addicts and Project Picture Trail for those with psychological problems.
- Projects meant to assist those going into the job market, e.g. the Corporate Stewardesses, Bachelor with Ballast, Job-breaker, Job Placement of Refugees and Immigrants, Immediate Clarification and Job X.
Every project is self-managing and answers to the school head. Frequent closing-time meetings are held for all project managers and every two weeks, a newsletter is delivered to all projects and Gimle courses. In 1998-99, supplementary training for project managers and Gimle course managers in FO-Aarhus was created in cooperation with The Teaching College of Denmark. The projects elect a representative with voting rights to the board of FO-Aarhus.
The Gimle folk high schoolIn 1995, FO-Aarhus established a folk high school and called it Gimle after the golden, heavenly hall of the ancient Norse gods.
The Gimle folk high school has its own board and support group, frequent meetings are held for all project managers, and 6-8 times a year, common events are organized for all Gimle students.
Aarhus school of special education (AAS)
In 1997, FO-Aarhus merged with the Aarhus school of special education which runs an all-day school for late developers. After the merger, the AAS program remains unchanged.
FO-Aarhus is difficult to describe with regards to its organization. It doesn't seem to match the existing organizational theories and schemes, but one thing is for certain: FO-Aarhus doesn't have the hierarchical structure of a pyramid.
However, structure was the theme for one of the courses in our supplementary training for project managers and course managers which fed people's imagination. One work group drew the structure as the cosmos above Earth. The structure of FO-Aarhus is visualized as outer space, in which all elements move in a particular circuit while being part of one or more shared circuits. The "mother planet" FO-Aarhus has been placed in the periphery, since it is organizationally linked with many associates, e.g. legislators, not part of the core business area of FO-Aarhus. The projects and courses are viewed as "autonomous" planets which revolve around their axis while in a particular circuit, either by themselves or accompanied by another planet. The planets are part of the great circuit of FO-Aarhus. Shooting stars may symbolize single projects, e.g. Culture Night, Green Guide event or Evening Class Open House. Satellites are a sort of benchmarks which guide as well as check. Another group drew FO-Aarhus as a bi-celled amoeba with separate nuclei but with common, ever-changing plasma.
Yet another group described FO-Aarhus as a marketplace with stalls for every taste, surrounded by houses, and with a crossroads in the centre, in which people socialize.
Finally, a third group imagined FO-Aarhus as a soapbox car being pushed by a group of all sorts of people. Driving the soapbox car is N.F.S. Grundtvig with the school manager on his lap.
In FO-Aarhus, all communicative lines come together in the administration and finally, with the school manager and his teams:
- The course shop, which handles student signup for all of the activities of FO-Aarhus and the Gimle folk high school. In addition, the shop organizes senior citizen lectures and makes reimbursement statements for the local authorities.
- Accounting, which similarly handles all of the varying branches of FO-Aarhus.
- The Development group that consists of employees specializing in varying areas, e.g. marketing, foundation applications, international co-operation, and project management.
FO-Aarhus (Free Education Association)
Frederiksgade 78 C
DK-8000 Aarhus C
Tel +45 87 46 45 00
Fax +45 86 20 28 78