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ERIC Number: EJ1105687
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0040-0912
Stakeholders in the German and Swiss Vocational Educational and Training System: Their Role in Innovating Apprenticeships against the Background of Academisation
Deissinger, Thomas; Gonon, Philipp
Education & Training, v58 n6 p568-577 2016
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to compare stakeholders' roles in Germany and Switzerland when it comes to promoting innovation in the dual apprenticeship model. In both countries, the relevant stakeholders who represent the various occupations and, in a more narrow sense, the social partners, actively shape vocational education and training (VET) reforms. They represent the area of public educational policy, besides governments, political parties and the public, who, in both countries, appreciate the decisive role of apprenticeships for youth education, employment and social stability. Thus, the broad consensus of the relevant stakeholders is crucial in order to keep apprenticeship systems alive. Both countries face challenges related to academisation, which means, that the Gymnasium (high school) and higher education now are even more the first option for parents than in former times. On several levels German and Swiss policy makers try to strengthen VET paying tribute to and trying to cope with these developments. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is situated in the field of comparative VET research. Based on policy documents and findings from research the paper analyses the discourse and perspectives related to VET reforms. The authors deliberately focus on two countries, Germany and Switzerland, which share a great deal of common features in relation to VET, nevertheless developed different measures in order to cope with the pressure of increasing the ratio of students in higher education. The comparative paper looks at the topical reform discourse and taken measures and the specific culture of apprenticeships in the two countries by focusing on those stakeholders, which, besides governments, are crucially involved in the system. The paper draws its insights from the VET policy debate and from both national policy documents and national and international expert publications in the field of VET. A strong focus is given to the emerging new environment of the VET system. Methodologically, the paper draws from an institutional view on VET, which is being discussed broadly in comparative research, since VET systems with a "dual system", such as the two discussed here, may be categorized as "state-steered market models", "occupation-based qualifications styles", "collective skill formation systems" or specific realizations of "transition systems". All these categories refer to the observation that in these societies it is not the state alone, who defines the structure of the respective VET system, but non-state stakeholders are capable of influencing VET policy and VET reform in a substantial and visible way. Findings" In both countries, Germany and Switzerland, the importance and value of VET is based on an overall consensus, shared by all relevant actors. The basis of this consensus is that the dual system so far successfully opened and should continue to open career paths in industry. Apprenticeships undoubtedly are cornerstones of economic welfare in these countries and can be associated with low youth unemployment rates. A supplementary aspect in the last years however is the political will that VET should also have some kind of link with higher education. Despite some interesting reform measures ambivalences cannot be ignored: against what could be called "academic fallacy" the importance of a highly qualified workforce, trained in non-academic fields, and the future of this kind of skill formation have become major topics and concerns in both societies. Originality/value: This paper is comparing two similar cases, Switzerland and Germany, in VET in order to profile reform alternatives. Furthermore the actors beyond state are highlighted as important element for reform in VET education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany; Switzerland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A