In Denmark, the Higher Technical Examination Programme (HTX, in Danish: Højere Teknisk Eksamen) is a 3-year vocationally oriented general upper secondary programme which builds on the 10th-11th form of the Folkeskole. It leads to the higher technical examination, the HTX-examination, which permits a student to qualify for admission to higher education, subject to the special entrance regulations that apply to the individual course. The programme gives special attention to scientific, technical and communicative subjects. With a HTX-diploma in your hand, you are guaranteed to be able to study at any Danish technical or scientific university.
The HTX-programme is a 3-year programme. The introductory 6-month semester details the aims of the secondary school period of the vocational education and training programmes offered by the college.
The programme caters for the 16-19 year-old bracket and is divided into years with a certain number of obligatory and optional subjects of both a general and a vocational nature. Students may have the same teacher for different subjects throughout the programme.
The programme builds on the 9th form of the Folkeskole or a corresponding qualification and is of 3 years' duration. The school organises the teaching so that the aims of individual subjects are met, before the students are to be examined in the subject. Each student completes his own final project.
Access, however, is not automatically available to the general upper secondary programmes. If a school finds that the pupil and their parents are not taking the education and guidance provided seriously, and/or that there is a risk that the pupil will not be able to meet the requirements of the general upper secondary programmes, the pupil may be recommended to sit for an admission test to one of the general upper secondary programmes.
This was where the Higher Technical Examination Programme entered the picture. HTX was then only offered as a 2½-year Programme, which only gave admission to certain technical educations, like bachelor engineer (Danish: Teknikumingeniør) and civil engineer (Danish: Civilingeniør) in construction. As an experimental programme, the HTX was utilizing the most modern method of teaching, and a lot of interdisciplinary group- and project-work to imitate situations that were to find in the real world – something that wasn’t being done a great deal in Gymnasium. The programme also quickly adapted the computer technology for use in the education like mathematics. The main subjects were of course Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics, and the education was on the same level as the Gymnasium, without the in somehow unnecessary subjects. The programme was a great success. As the experimental phase was being closed in 1988, the HTX programme was to become a fully integrated part of the Danish education system. It began to spread throughout the Danish education system, and was offered at the most Technical technically-oriented vocational secondary schools (Danish: Tekniske erhvervsskoler) before long. The programme though had image problems as it was somehow regarded a “geek-school” because of the great deal of technical and scientific subjects that didn’t attract female attention, which caused the HTX programme to be very male-dominated in the first years.
The 1st January 1991, the subjects was divided into A, B and C levels, which for that reason removed the last thing that kept the HTX programme from being a complete academically-oriented upper secondary education equal to the Gymnasium. The HTX programme was now also extended to 3 full years of studying, with a final exam in the A-level subjects at the last year. From now on, the HTX programme could lead to any university education, but still with focus on the technical and scientific subjects, and less on the humanistic subjects. Though it was also possible to take optional subjects (like Design, Psychology), that may give access to some humanistic university educations. Some new unique subjects to be found only at the HTX programme, like the “technique-subject” (Danish: Teknikfag), and technology was introduced. At the same time the obligatory level in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics was set a level higher (B-level) than at the Gymnasium (C-level), which caused that a HTX-student automatically had admission to any technical university education, which wasn’t always the case at the Gymnasium.
In 2005 the “Gymnasium-reform” became a reality. The Gymnasium, the HHX programme and the HTX programme was now of fully equality, which means that they have the same optional subject, and they have adopted some each other’s strengths to make a 3-way fully integrated academically-oriented upper secondary education. For example, the 3 programmes have a very identical 6-month introduction semester, which makes it easy to shift between the 3 programmes to find the most suitable for one. Furthermore, the subject "History of Technology" was made obligatory at C-level.
In 2007 the Ministry of Education revised the “Gymnasium-reform”, and introduced the new optional subject “Biotechnology”, which until 2009 only is offered as an experimental try.
The HTX programme is based on technical and scientific subjects at the highest obligatory level offered in Denmark. Furthermore it is as well based on a wide range of optional subjects similier to those found in the Gymnasium or at the HHX programme. Some of the optional subjects are business, economics, work environment, history of technology, international technology and culture, information technology, material technology, design, statistics, quality control, etc.
The subjects can be taken at 3 levels: A, B and C, with A as the highest level and a studying time of all 3 years. The students choose at least three at A-level, three at B-level, one at C-level to meet the requirements for a fullblood HTX-exam diploma.
The new students who's admitted, begins at the Programme in August every year, in the so called "1st g" (Danish: Første g). The first half year is spend at a "introduction semester" where the students parted out in random classes. Here they receive education in Danish, English, Mathemathics, Physics and Chemistry to asure that the students are all fairly good. The biggest differences between the new students are in Mathematics, where basic needs is taught (like solving equations and algebra). The introduction course are finished with a "portfolio-exam", which purpose is to make clear (to both the teachers and the students) how and what the student has learned over the past half year of introduction to the HTX programme. The duration of the exam is 20 minutes.
Just before christmas the students must choose a 'study specialization', which is packs of subjects at different level so the requirements for the HTX-exam is obliged. This is the final, binding choice, which forms the programme with some differencies depending on study specialization. Most of the schools offers 3 different study specializations namely:
In the last year of the programme, the students choose the rather unique "Area of technical specialization" at level A, which acctually is 5 different subjects. In this subject the students spend an entire day at working with specialization. The choice of Area of technical specialization decides the specialization indicated in the certificate. The students can choose between the following specialisations:
The teaching is organised so that the subjects support each other with a view to creating an appropriate and equal distribution of the workload of students.
When attending to the HTX programme, one must expect that a great part of the work is done in groups, and that there will be a lot of interdisciplinary projects, too. Although there is also common class education, and lectures in different subjects.
It's a very practical programme, as theory is being proved in practise when possible.
The incorporation of computers is very visible, as over 90% of all students bring their laptop to school for taking notes, calculate (students will get education in programs like MathCad, AutoCAD and SmartSketch), draw etc. It’s not a requirement, but it’s a big advantage to have a laptop at the HTX programme. Most schools are able to lend laptops to students who haven’t got one themselves.
As a rule, the examinations are held at the end of the programme. A student can normally only be registered for the examination if they have participated in the instruction, and have handed in required written work and had it approved by the teachers concerned.
Oral and/or written examinations are held in almost all of the subjects. The students' performance at the examination is assessed by the teacher/examiner and external examiner(s) appointed by the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education decides on the design of the certificate.