Shaukat Ali Khan
In my previous three articles I have focused mostly on the education system of Scandinavia.
Now I would like to share with my readers the social aspects of Scandinavia in general and Denmark in particular. Just recently many of us have heard Imran Khan mentioning Scandinavia’s excellent social values.
These societies value their citizens and thereby give them their rights to live a worthy and healthy life.
Health: Hospitals are accessible to everyone who has full legal rights to stay in Denmark or in Scandinavia.
Every person gets an ID number called CPR number in Denmark and SSN Social Security Number = Personnummer in Sweden based on your birthdate.
Everything is centralized and therefore any state officer can get access to the record of any person with this ID number.
In Denmark after your registration you will receive a yellow card in about 3 weeks’ time with your house doctor’s info (he/she will be an experienced general physician).
The doctor mentioned on the yellow card will be your first contact to any medical issue you may have. When/If a patient requires further consultation the house doctor will recommend the patient to consult a specialist for further health-related check-ups or to a proper hospital and laboratory for diagnosis and treatment.
All the health services including major or minor operations are free of charge except for the medicine which you will have to pay for at the pharmacy (Apotek) but the price will be subsidized in due course of time.
For all new-born babies the relevant municipality (Kommune) will nominate a nurse who will be responsible for the regular monitoring of the child’s health and the nurse will do frequent visits to the child’s residence also. The nurse will even train new mothers how to handle new-born babies. All the children will get regular health as well as dental check-ups. Generally the local doctor will be available from 08:00-16:00 hours every day even by phone from 08:00 – 09:00 every morning. After 16:00 the emergency doctor is available throughout the night and all treatment is free of charge.
Early Child Care: Generally both parents work, so the kindergarten system is there to support the parents. In the Danish system the children start with the kindergarten at a very early age of about 8 to10 months. The flexible kindergarten opens at 07:00 to 17:00 hours during weekdays where fully trained staff will take care of the children. The children are provided with breakfast, lunch and snacks during their days at the kindergarten. This childcare service is very expensive, but subsidized by the local municipality. Day-cares are available until the child turns 6 that is when the regular school starts.
Schooling: All the children start school at nearby schools. Allocation of schools depends on the residential address. Regular school has 0 to 9 grades and it is based on the performance and interest the students have in the different fields for further studies which can either be technical education (carpentry, hair dresser and other fields) or further studies. Many students continue with their studies to the high school for three years.
The school and high school education is free of charge for everyone who has legal status.
University education: After finishing their high school education many students will continue with their university education while others may choose technical professions. In addition to free university education the students may even obtain scholarships to further their education to the university. Free university education and scholarships (Stipend receives by the student every month) are only available for the citizens and permanent resident card holders.
Pension: Seniors of +65 years or older get their pension every month from the State which includes subsidized way of travelling, health services, old age homes etc.
Unemployment: All the unemployed citizens get paid by the government (unemployment benefits) every month until they find a job. In addition to the unemployment benefits the government provides special education and training for all these unemployed people so that it will be easier for them to find a relevant job in the future and all this education is absolutely free of charge.
People with special needs: The government takes the responsibility of taking care of all the people with special needs (with any disabilities). Every person with special needs gets special allowance from the government including salary to the care taker (either parents or any other person). Every single place has facilities to entertain special needs including wheel chair access to public places, trains, offices. There are special schools and training programs for the rehabilitation where trained staff engages them in different activities and sports.
Tax System: All the above social services are only possible because of the strong tax system. Generally workers’ pay 38% to 57% taxes from their monthly salary which depends on how much they earn. If a person is earning more than a normal income then he/she has to pay more taxes, so the minimum tax deduction is 38% and the maximum is 56% from the salaries each month. But people are happy with this, as they are confident that their money is being utilized properly and they are entitled to all the benefits because of the taxes they are paying. The tax system is transparent and corruption free.