23 SES 14 B, Work Practice and Vocational Perspectives in Public Education
In many countries there is a clear hierarchy between (higher) general education and vocational education and training (VET). These hierarchies are often accompanied by different educational and life opportunities. The demand for parity of esteem between VET and general education is thus not new and is not only relevant in countries where the path to VET is part of a negative selection of supposedly poor performers in in general secondary education, as in France. These conflicts continue to take place in also in countries with a strong and prestigious VET system such as Germany. The lack of equivalence between general education and VET can be seen here not only in different career perspectives but also in the lack of institutional permeability between vocational and higher education, for it is the general educational track which leads to higher education and the associated higher careers in the civil service and professions. Vocational educationalist like Kerchensteiner (1910) and Blankertz (1963) pointed out that the artificial separation between general education and VET had to be overcome by integrating the two. And also in recent educational discourses in Germany, the integration of vocational and general higher education has been seen as a way to promote permeability and equivalence (Bernhard 2017). Therefore, this paper looks at two educational programs that have been developed in Germany over the past decades and that link VET and higher general education: in the tertiary system, dual study programs have been created that systematically combine work-based learning at firms and academic education in higher education organizations (Graf 2013). At secondary school level, dual vocational training programs with Abitur (the German general higher education entrance certificate) were reintroduced in some federal states. These programs were similar to programs existing in the former GDR system where like in other socialist systems a much greater emphasis was put on polytechnical education. The aim of the paper is to analyze the contributions but also challenges of these programs with regard to the goal of increased permeability but also parity of esteem between vocational education and higher general education in the German education system.
Bernhard, N. (2017) Durch Europäisierung zu mehr Durchlässigkeit? Veränderungsdynamiken des Verhältnisses von Berufs- und Hochschulbildung in Deutschland und Frankreich. Opladen/Berlin/Toronto, Budrich UniPress. Blankertz, H. (1963) Berufsbildung und Utilitarismus. Düsseldorf, Schwann. Graf, L. (2013) The Hybridization of Vocational Training and Higher Education in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Opladen/Berlin/Toronto, Budrich UniPress. Kerchensteiner, G. (1910): Berufs- oder Allgemeinbildung? In Kerchensteiner, G. (Ed.): Grundfragen der Schulorganisation. Eine Sammlung von Reden, Aufsätzen und Organisationsbeispielen. Leipzig 1910, p. 23–43
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