From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A dual education system is practised in several
Switzerland, but also
France, and for some years now in
and other countries in Asia
. It combines
apprenticeships in a company and
vocational education at a
vocational school in one course.
In the duale Ausbildungssystem young German people can
learn one of 356 (2005) apprenticeship occupations (Ausbildungsberufe),
Doctor's Assistant, Dispensing
Optician or Oven Builder. The precise skills and theory
taught are strictly regulated: an Industriekaufmann
(someone trained to work in an industrial company as a personnel
assistant or accountant, etc) has always learned the same skills
and taken the same courses.
In 2003, the top five most popular dual education courses
taken in Germany were:
Retailer (Kaufmann/Kauffrau im Einzelhandel) —
28,773 people took up this course in 2003.
Clerical worker / office administrator (Bürokaufmann/Bürokauffrau)
technologist for the
automobile industry (Kraftfahrzeugmechatroniker/in
mit Vorgängerberufen) — 23,218
- Office worker in an
industrial company (Industriekaufmann/-kauffrau)
Cook (Koch/Köchin) — 16,434
- Specially in southern
Germany this model is also used for a special
college system called
(Source: Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung
In France, dual education (formation en alternance)
has undergone a boom since the 1990s, with information
technology being the greatest draw.
As one part of the dual education course, students are
trained in a company for three to five days a week. The company
is responsible for ensuring that students get the standard
quantity and quality of training set down in the training
descriptions for each trade.
In Germany, this practical training may be complemented by
more practical lessons at workshops run by the
chamber of commerce, in order to compensate for the bias
caused by training at only one company. These extra courses
usually take three or four weeks a year.
In France, the same amount of time is spent in practical
training and theory, with the following possible systems:
- 2.5 days in a company, 2.5 days at school,
- one week in a company, one week at school,
- six months in a company, six months at school.
French companies must provide a tutor or other person
responsible for the students, or a
human resources officer to deal with them. Their duties may
involve daily tutoring and/or targeted training. French
apprentices on the dual education course are paid a certain
percentage of the minimum wage for the job they are learning.
The other part of the dual education course involves lessons
vocational school (German: Berufsschule). The
responsibility for this part of the course lies with the school
authorities in every
German state or Swiss
canton. Both general lessons (German, politics, economics,
religion, sport) and trade-specific theory are taught.
Lessons may be taught part-time (one or two days a week) or
in blocks of several weeks. The latter is preferred for trades
learned by only a small number of students, where students may
have to travel long distances to get to the nearest vocational
school which teaches their subject.
In Germany, for most trades, the first examination takes
place about half-way through the vocational training and is only
to test how well the student is doing so far: the marks do not
go towards the final exam. Both exams are organised by the
small business trade group and
chamber of commerce and industry. Examinations for trained
artisans are traditionally known as
journeyman's tests (Gesellenprüfung).
Examinations for trades which have been recognised more
recently are organised slightly differently. Here, the first
examination counts as 40% of the total result, with the final
examination making up the other 60%.
Those who fail the exam can apply to have their training
extended until the following year when they can retake it. Only
one extension is allowed.
Problems with dual education
Although the dual education system is generally considered to
be exemplary, an increasing number of young people are taking
vocational education and training (VET) courses at training
sites and schools rather than in real companies, as for various
reasons, companies are becoming less willing to take on
apprentices. To counter this, the
government considered making it compulsory for firms to take
on apprentices. This idea, however, was dropped when the trade
associations agreed to a voluntary training pact.
The reasons behind the lack of places on dual education
- companies which take on apprentices have to follow a
large number of regulations
- the training itself is very expensive
- many school leavers have only a low level of education
and are not able to keep up with the course
- firms are often highly specialised and unable to train
apprentices in all the required areas
Recently some attempts have been made to overcome these
difficulties, but as yet with no success. Two solutions put
forward so far are "contractual education" (Auftragsausbildung)
and state-run courses. The former would involve companies
training apprentices which they do not plan to employ; the
contract would also not be an employment contract. The latter
solution would involve training outside of companies, in schools
In Switzerland too, more and more young people are finding it
hard to get a place in a company of their choice. In 2004, a
conference took place on this subject, attended by all the
parties in the
Swiss Federal Council; as no agreement could be reached on
which measures to take, the only result was a call for all
companies to take on apprentices.
The lack of places has changed the conditions in which
apprentices are taken on. In 2004, one newly-founded company
even advertised apprenticeships in
IT where the apprentices had to pay for the training
themselves. The uproar was so great, however, that the company
was not able to start up. Today, most apprentices have to take
aptitude tests before they are accepted, and there are usually
several candidates for a company to choose from.
- Much of this information was taken from the German
and French language versions of this article.
Quick facts about the German education system from
2005 Reform of Vocational Education and Training
(Federal Ministry of Education and Research)
Education in Germany |
Education in Austria |
Education in Switzerland