NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ938268
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 74
ISSN: ISSN-1448-0220
Germany's System of Vocational Education and Training: Challenges and Modernisation Issues
Deissinger, Thomas
International Journal of Training Research, v2 n1 p76-99 2004
The German education system has recently come under fire with the publication of various international studies on student performance (OECD 2000; 2003). And in the first national "Education Report" (Bildungsbericht) published in October 2003 (Avenarius et al. 2003), the German ministers of education point out serious deficiencies in the country's school system, with too many drop-outs, too few achievers of higher education entrance qualifications and too little support for students coming from poorer families. However, in a remarkable common press declaration released on 17 September 2003, the ministers of education in Austria, Switzerland and the three southern federal states deplored the fact that studies such as the recent OECD paper (OECD 2003) tend to neglect or completely ignore the overall significance of formal apprenticeships, which are not only the most striking common educational feature of the three German-speaking countries, but are also the learning pathway for the "ordinary school leaver". The ministers claimed that the "Dual System" with its apprenticeship focus, offers viable and well-accepted routes into skilled employment and modes of socialisation without being part of the formal education system, and they eventually appealed to the OECD to "accept and investigate the status of vocational education". This debate, which is also fostered by the announcement of the German Federal Government's determination to substantially increase the number of students entering higher education, brings into focus the tendency in Germany to stick to established modes and practices by valuing "continuance of tradition" (Phillips 1995: 61). It also throws new light on both the firmly rooted three-tier approach in the country's secondary school system (Ertl 2000) and on the country's vocational pathways that have for decades been considered to be reliable and successful, especially in international terms. One of the outstanding examples of a clear disinclination to reform is the Dual System of apprenticeship training. Although it may be argued that Germany's high educational participation in post-compulsory secondary education is mainly due to the apprenticeship system (83% of 25-64 year-olds have reached this level), both the apprenticeship system and the full-time vocational schools now face challenges that have a national and an international dimension. Besides globalisation and the changing nature of industrial work organisation (Baethge & Baethge-Kinsky 1998), Germany's re-unification and a slackening economy continue to put strain on the national budget, on the labour market and on the education and training system (Miller Idriss 2002). Against this background, modernisation issues have emerged which touch the relationship between full-time and part-time VET as well as the nature of apprenticeships.
eContent Management Pty Ltd. P.O. Box 1027, Maleny, Queensland 4552, Australia. Tel: +61-7-5435-2900; Fax: +61-7-5435-2911; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany