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Comparing the Relationship Between Vocational Essay

Introduction For decades, Germany and France have been contrasted as having quite different skill formation systems, resulting from differences in institutional structures, educational values, the degree of centralization of educational governance, and trajectories of industrialization. Numerous studies have compared these two countries, developing typologies of vocational education and training (VET) as well as higher education (HE) that summarize such differences. These typologies have especially served as useful heuristic devices.

However, they may also pose barriers to recognize institutional changes, especially of the incremental type. Furthermore, the exogenous pressure posed by international agreements made by national education ministers to reform their education and training systems over the past decade lead us to ask whether these typologies continue to adequately reflect these national systems. To what extent have the key characteristics of skill formation systems in France and Germany changed, exemplified in the relationship between VET and HE?

Over the past decade, skill formation systems have not only been affected by endogenous national developments but also by the Europe-wide Bologna and Copenhagen processes, which rely on the open method of coordination to establish an enhanced European skill formation area. Both Bologna (for higher education) as well as Copenhagen (for vocational education and training) were intended to strengthen the EU’s global competitiveness but also to be a force for social inclusion. Yet the efforts of decision-makers to achieve these goals imply the more or less transformative change of historically evolved national skill formation systems.

Further, the goals stand in contrast to limited knowledge about the contemporary linkage between VET and HE. Each country’s skill formation system is in turn embedded in a nationally specific education/economy nexus. Thus, we compare the vocational and higher education systems in Germany and France as these countries respond both to the exogenous pressures of international diffusion of educational ideals, pan-European Bologna and Copenhagen declarations, and endogenous reform processes.

In doing so, the paper addresses several classic typologies, which are briefly discussed here before the contemporary systems are presented in detail in the country chapters. In Mass Vocational Education and Training in Europe, Wolf-Dietrich Greinert (1988, 2005) presented a typology of three “classical” training models: the liberal market economy model (Great Britain), the state-regulated bureaucratic model (France), and the dual-corporatist model (Germany). The French system was described as being strongly centralized as well as regulated, planned, controlled, and financed by the state.

Private interests are rather unimportant— even more so since vocational education was mainly organized in full-time schools. The primacy of politics in this system was omnipresent and the didactic principle was mainly based on science and general academic education. In –1– this typology, Germany was characterized by extensive mediation and coordination among state employers and labor representatives in an autonomous system of vocational training. When speaking about vocational training in Germany usually one implicitly refers to the “dual system” in which students alternate between school-based and, crucially, firm-based training.

Here, the core principle is that of the vocation (Beruf) (see, e. g. , Deissinger 1998), which is to be developed in practice. In studies of higher education, a range of comparisons exist, often contrasting four or more countries. Theories that suggest one global tertiary system are questionable, Dietrich Goldschmidt (1991) found, given the range of national higher education systems, including France and Germany, which he described as exhibiting “administrative centralism” versus “politicized legalism”.

In a classic comparison of higher education in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States, Joseph Ben-David ([1977] 1992) emphasized that while France offers continuity between general schooling and higher education based on one scale of educational excellence, Germany marks a strong boundary between general schooling and higher education viewed as sequential but different in goals.

A traditional similarity between France and Germany has been the idea that the raison d’etre of higher education is to select and educate an intellectual elite (Ben-David [1977] 1992: 73); however, these countries’ higher education systems have been dissimilar in their structures, with the French more highly differentiated and with an explicit “elite” formation in the prestigious professional schools (grandes ecoles).

Analyzing qualifications and labor markets, Marc Maurice, Francois Sellier and Jean-Jacques Silvestre in their 1986 book The Social Foundations of Industrial Power: A Comparison of France and Germany compared these countries’ educational and training systems as well as work practices. The study examined the country specific patterns of skill formation and the respective transitions into the labor market, showing that the German system of vocational training was firmly established and rather autonomous from state intervention, whereas French vocational training was less well developed and more dependent on state involvement.

The occupational position of German employees is not only dependent on their general educational attainment but also on the workers’ specific apprenticeship training or learned vocation (Beruf). Consequently, the German workforce has been highly hierarchically stratified according to the system of vocational and professional credentials; with employment mobility occurring within this “qualificational space”. In contrast, the French workforce has been stratified according to general education attainment and the amount of job experience.

French employment mobility has been less directly affected by the attainment of specific educational and vocational credentials but rather the result of successive job experiences within firms. Transitions and mobility in France have thus been said to occur in the “organizational space” of the firm (see Maurice et al. 1986). Since the aforementioned studies appeared, at least two decades have elapsed.

Recent Europeanization processes demand that we revisit these models –2–to understand whether they still capture the essence of these systems. The purpose of this paper is to review recent literature and data, focusing on changes in the relationship between the differentially institutionalized organizational fields of general and vocational education as well as new organizational forms and the adjustment of educational pathways and participation rates.

Guided by organizational and institutional analysis, this contribution relies on cross-national and historical analyses of vocational training (e.g. , Koch 1998; Thelen 2004; Hillmert 2008), on change in universities (e. g. , Krucken 2003, 2007; Witte 2006), and on comparative institutional analysis (see Baker and LeTendre 2005; Powell and Solga 2008, 2010).

Thereby, we analyze the character of competition and cooperation between HE and VET, the hierarchy of certificates and organizational forms in the two organizational fields, as well as the differentiation of organizational forms [e. g., vocational academies (Berufsakademien) in Germany or university institutes of technology (insituts universitaires de technologie) in France] and newer vocational educational institutions, such as the “prevocational transition system” (berufsvorbereitendes Ubergangssystem) in Germany (see Baethge et al. 2007).

How is the on-going, possibly even heightened, competition for participants between organizations dedicated to the transfer of general and vocational skills playing out in these two countries, France with a largely school-based vocational education and training system and a highly differentiated higher education system and Germany with school- and firm-based VET and a bifurcated HE system?

Do developments over the past quarter century change the validity of classic typologies in which the German and French skill formation system have been compared? In the first section, we compare the relationship between VET and HE in Germany, charting pathways into and within VET and HE as well as transitions from VET/HE into the labor market, ending with a statement on the consequences of these institutional structures for social (in)equality.

Then, in the next section, we present a similar overview for France. Lastly, we ask whether the typologies, briefly sketched above, still hold. –3– 2. Shifting Tensions between Vocational and Higher Education in Germany 2. 1 Pathways into and within Vocational and Higher Education Here, we provide an overview on participation rates in vocational training and education, in higher education, and in newer hybrid organizational forms that straddle the boundary between VET and HE (see Figure 2. 1 for current educational pathways). German secondary schooling is both standardized and highly stratified (Allmendinger 1989).

In fact, the secondary level of the educational system is divided into five separate organizational forms: Students are sorted very early (after grade 4 or 6) into one of the following school types (with further variants in the new federal states (Bundeslander)): (1) the lower secondary school (Hauptschule), (2) the intermediate track (Realschule), (3) the upper secondary school (Gymnasium), (4) a multi-track comprehensive school (Gesamtschule) offering a range of certificates, or (5) one of ten special school types (Sonderschule).

The lower secondary school (Hauptschule) ends after grade 9 (10), and leads to a certificate called a Hauptschulabschluss (erweiterter Hauptschulabschluss1). The intermediate secondary school-leaving certificate (Realschulabschluss) is received after grade 10. The highest secondary school level (gymnasiale Oberstufe) ends after grade 12 or 13 and leads to the general higher education entry certificate (Allgemeine Hochschulreife) or the subject-specific higher education entry certificate (Fachgebundene Hochschulreife)2 (Schneider 2008), which is required to access tertiary education.

Furthermore, it is possible to receive the entry certificate for universities of applied science (Fachhochschulreife)3 which only gives access to specific tertiary education mostly at universities of applied sciences ((Fach)Hochschulen)4. Generally speaking, all these tracks lead to specific positions in the labor market – blue collar, white collar, academic – and the permeability between the tracks is relatively low in education and employment (see, e. g. , Leuze 2007). 1 2 3 4.

Students who graduate from the Hauptschule after grade 9 receive the general Hauptschulabschluss, while those who leave after grade 10 attain the erweiterten Hauptschulabschluss. The Allgemeine Hochschulreife requires certification of knowledge of a second foreign language whereas the fachgebundene Hochschulreife does not. Thus, the latter certificate allows access only to certain subjects at universities, but to all subjects at universities of applied sciences. The Fachhochschulreife is the second highest general school leaving certificate which can be received at various upper secondary schools.

It consists of two parts, namely a school-based one lasting for about two years, and a vocational one with the duration of at least one year or alternatively a completed apprenticeship. In the context of the Bologna reforms in Germany, many universities of applied sciences were renamed from Fachhochschule to Hochschule. –4– The vocational training system in Germany is similarly differentiated. This system is made up of three sectors: the pre-vocational training system (Ubergangssystem), the school based vocational training system and the dual system proper (apprenticeship).

Overall, the general education level of the students determines the entrance to a specific field of vocational training. Training in vocational schools leads mostly to occupations in the following sectors: health, social work, teaching, and media. Especially in the core of the training system, students with a general higher education entry certificate (Allgemeine Hochschulreife) and an intermediate track certificate (Mittlerer Schulabschluss) prevail whereas school leavers from the lower secondary school (Hauptschule) make up the smallest proportion of students.

In crafts, agriculture and some domestic jobs, the lower secondary school graduates (Hauptschulabsolventen) make up the majority of the vocational training students. In industry, commerce, public service and free professions, the trainees are recruited primarily from the intermediate track (Realschule) and increasingly from the upper secondary schools (Gymnasium). In fact some vocational training opportunities, e. g. for bank clerks, now de facto require the general higher education entry certificate (Allgemeine Hochschulreife) to receive an apprenticeship contract (Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung 2008).

Figure 2. 1: The Educational System in Germany Source: Schneider (2008: 79). –5– There are several pathways into higher education, requiring the following certificates for entry: the general higher education entry certificate (Allgemeine Hochschulreife), the subject-specific higher education entry certificate (Fachgebundene Hochschulreife) or the entry certificate for universities of applied science (Fachhochschulreife). Having obtained the Allgemeine Hochschulreife, school leavers are entitled to study at any institution of higher education. The Fachgebundene Hochschulreife and the

Fachhochschulreife, on the other hand, allows entry only to universities of applied sciences (Hochschulen) or specified courses of study at universities (see Appendix for more details on the different organizational forms in the German educational system and their ISCED classification). In addition, the Allgemeine Hochschulreife can also be obtained after leaving secondary school. Here, we can differentiate between those who, for example, attend evening classes a few hours a week at an evening secondary school (Abendgymnasium), a college (Kolleg), or at an adult education center (Volkshochschule).

However, workers who attain the Allgemeine Hochschulreife in this way account for only 2% of all admissions to universities and to universities of applied sciences (Heine, Schneider and Sommer 2008). In addition, about 2% of all students are able to begin their studies without a higher education entry certificate. Thus, by and large these alternative pathways remain marginal and upward permeability of the educational system is lacking. The other pathway into tertiary education after leaving general secondary schools is attendance in vocationallyspecific secondary schools (Fachoberschulen) or other vocational schools (Fachschulen).

About 14% of the students begin their studies having graduated from these organizations (Heine, Schneider and Sommer 2008). Altogether, entry into higher education via alternative pathways (Zweiter Bildungsweg) accounts for less than a fifth of all students beginning their tertiary-level studies. While eligibility requirements for transfer from VET programs to HE vary by federal state (Land), the figures on students at tertiary level who have completed vocational training provides an indicator of permeability, as it measures actual mobility between VET and HE.

Since reunification, the proportion of those students beginning their studies who hold an occupational training certificate has declined from just over a third to around a quarter: Over the past two decades, around one-half of this substantial minority of all students have completed vocational training before, one-half after they attained the necessary certificate to enter a tertiary course of study (Baethge et al. 2007). Thus, while less tertiary-level students have a training certificate than in previous years, a sizable minority experiences multiple phases of differing types of skill formation.

In recognition of this fact, newer organizational forms cater directly to such interests. Thus, next to the increase in internships completed by tertiary students as part of their general academic courses of study, official dual study programs that join in-firm vocational training with a course of study at a vocational academy (Berufsakademie), business college, university of applied sciences or university have been steadily increasing. Between April 2005 and April 2009 the of- –6–.

fered dual study programs rose about 31% from 545 to 712 programs (AusbildungPlus-Jahresbericht 2006, AusbildungPlus in Zahlen 2008/2009). The advantages of such programs seem to be manifest: while firms gain highly qualified and motivated younger workers, higher education organizations benefit from direct interaction with firms and can enhance their profile. When such arrangements are well-coordinated, they can optimally combine and alternate general academic education and in-firm praxis-based phases into a vocationally-oriented academic program.

Students may gain much, as they receive training that enhances their labor market opportunities — similar to the advantages of the dual system at secondary level. Nevertheless graduates of vocational academies usually get lower paid jobs than university graduates. In the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), vocational academies (Berufsakademien), certain vocational schools, and schools for healthcare professions (Fachschulen im Gesundheitsbereich), such as nursing, that offer two-year and three-year courses, are classified as post-secondary education (5B).

All these organizations provide practically-focused but academicallybased VET. However, only studying at the vocational academy can lead to a B. A. -level degree after three years of study in such fields as economics or social work or engineering. Distributed among levels according to ISCED, the net entry rates into tertiary education in 2006 were: ISCED 5A: 35% (26% in 1995); ISCED 5B: 13% (15% in 1995) (OECD 2008: 68-69). For tertiary-type 5A this figure is low as compared to the OECD average of over 50% (DESTATIS 2008: 8).

Correspondingly, in 2006, only 21% of a cohort were awarded a degree at the level of ISCED 5A (DESTATIS 2008: 41). Again the OECD average is much higher (37%), which, however, is partly due to the fact that in some other OECD countries more VET programs are classified as belonging to higher education (cf. DESTATIS 2008: 40). Similarly, in Germany, we observe that the proportion of all pupils in the second phase of secondary schooling (ISCED 3) in general and technological education tracks (41%) was lower than the OECD mean (54%) in 2006, because of the relative size of the vocational training system (Statistisches Bundesamt 2008: 68).

However, the variation between the federal states (Lander) (e. g. , 3050%) reflects differences in the structures of skill formation systems, disparities in the availability of apprenticeships and other vocational training opportunities as well as shifting preferences of youth as they proceed through educational pathways. In 378 higher education institutions in 2006, a total of 1,986,106 students were enrolled.

Students enter either a university, focused more towards a general curriculum and science, or a university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule or Hochschule), which emphasizes more applied fields and praxis-based training. Nearly 70% or 1,386,784 students study at 123 universities and equivalent institutions, 28. 6% or 567,729 students are enrolled at 200 universities (Hochschulen) (including colleges of administration (Verwaltungshochschulen)), and –7– 1. 6% or 31,593 students at 55 colleges of art and music (KMK 2008: 182ff. ).

In addition, 28,525 students study at vocational academies (Berufsakademien) (KMK 2008: 182ff. ). These colleges of advanced vocational studies, mentioned already above, combine an apprenticeship with postsecondary-level teaching that represent an example of a newer type of hybrid organizational form (cf. Powell and Solga 2008: 24, 30). However, this relatively new organizational form remains quantitatively marginal and limited to certain federal states (Bundeslander), such as Baden-Wurttemberg, where eight of these types of organizations have joined forces to create dual, praxis-oriented higher

education for approximately 24,000 students in the Duale Hochschule Baden-Wurttemberg (University of Dual Studies). 2. 2 Vocational Education and Training The German dual-corporatist model’s key is the combination of in-school and in-firm education and training (apprenticeships), which involves extensive mediation and coordination among the German national government, Germany’s sixteen Lander, and employer and labor representatives in an autonomous system of vocational training (Greinert 2005).

This extensive system of vocational training provides apprenticeship opportunities at upper secondary level. As we have seen above, vocational training plays a far more significant role in preparing young adults for the labor market than in other European countries where general academic education is primary (cf. e. g. Shavit and Muller 2000).

Germany’s skill formation institutions have been of historical importance as models for the development of both university education and vocational training internationally (see Powell 2009). The attraction for other countries to Germany’s VET system is due largely to the fact that it has been providing a highly-skilled workforce, smooth transitions from school-to-work, and some insurance against the high youth unemployment rates that plague many other European countries (Deissinger 1994; Regini 1997).

On the other hand, the dual system of vocational training no longer seems as successful as it once was at providing attractive training opportunities to the majority of a cohort leaving secondary schooling, at matching youth with firms offering stable career perspectives, or at regularly providing youth from lower social backgrounds or from ethnic minority groups with work and social mobility (Baethge et al. 2007).

Indeed, regardless of fluctuations due to the business cycle and technological change, the demand for training opportunities has grown far beyond what firms have been willing to offer. Especially less-educated youth are in danger of not successfully garnering a spot within the dual system proper and thus will likely remain at the margins of labor markets in future (Solga 2005) as low-skilled persons’ labor market vulnerability has increased not only in Germany, but in all Western countries over the past quarter century (Solga 2008).

–8– Between compulsory schooling and employment in Germany, there are two transitions: into post-secondary education and training and from that stage into labor markets. However, a substitute — the pre-vocational training system (Ubergangssystem) — has developed rapidly, such that each year about half a million young people do not enter into regular vocational training, but instead find themselves shunted off into a range of pre-vocational programs (berufsvorbereitenden Ma?

nahmen) (Konsortium Bildungsberichterstattung 2006). While these measures, similar to the dual system proper, aim to enhance youth’s work aptitudes, occupational orientations, or vocational preparation as well as empowering them, this takes place outside the regular training system, often solely school-based and without the element of work experience within firms which is still expected by a majority of employers.

As a result, the dual system has experienced an upgrading while leavers of lower secondary schools (Hauptschulen) are increasingly excluded like the leavers from special school types (Sonderschulen) have long been (Powell 2006). Traditionally, as has been described in the book by Maurice et al. (1986), the Hauptschule provides a low level of general education and was originally established to prepare students for craft and industrial occupations.

However, an ever larger proportion of students (50,8% in 2006) from Hauptschulen do not find a place to train directly after leaving school but are forced to participate in the pre-vocational training system. For pupils without any general education certificate who enter the vocational education and training system, the situation is even worse, as about 80% of these school-leavers (mainly from Hauptschulen and Sonderschulen) end up in the prevocational training system (Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung 2008: 158).

World polity researchers have argued that the appeal of vocational education rose and fell over the twentieth century due to the changing importance of specialized workers because of the shift from industrial production to services and the simultaneous rise of standardized educational provision for future citizens in egalitarian societies (Benavot 1983). But Germany, which largely clings to its traditions in education and training, provides via its

Sonderweg a difficult case for such global trend analyses that argue from a bird’s-eye view. Thus the transition to the egalitarian citizenship model (that favors general academic education) so influential elsewhere is slowed. This can be explained primarily with the differentiated German school system that predetermines educational pathways and also with the adherence to the organizing principles within the training system in which the conveying of occupational competences instead of more general education is the dominant goal.

As Deissinger (1998) shows the vocational principle (Berufsprinzip) is still the most important and an extremely stable parameter on which the German VET system is built. The proposal to extend schooling periods in order to increase the share of general education, like it is possible in Switzerland, is for example often rejected by the German economy. On the one hand firms fear to lose expensive human labor and on the other hand they believe that vocational sociali- –9– zation is best secured in firm based training (see BMBF 2009; Kuratorium der Deutschen Wirtschaft fur Berufsbildung 2004).

Indeed, the tremendous costs of such a system as that of pre-vocational training might also indicate how highly institutionalized the idea of apprenticeships and the dual system is in Germany. And even the German full-time vocational training schools (Berufsfachschule), which do not belong to the dual system proper, have integrated extended apprenticeship periods into the curriculum, as the occupational principle diffuses throughout skill formation systems’ elaborate organizational fields.

Significantly, over the past two hundred years, divided and parallel systems of general, academic education and vocational education and training have grown, over time solidifying the institutional and organizational distinction between general academic and vocational preparation, what (Baethge 2006) has termed the “German educational schism” (deutsches Bildungsschisma) (see Table 2. 1). Table 2. 1: Institutional Dimensions of General Education and VET, Germany Institutional Dimension Cultural-cognitive Dominant goals, Ideals Orientation in the definition of learning goals, Curricula Normative Status of learners General

VET (dual system) Educated personality, individual self-control, autonomy, occupational (disciplinary) identity Canon of representative knowledge, science Vocational competence, agency, vocational identity (Beruflichkeit) Pupils, students Trainees/apprentices in an employed status Praxis-based training (connection between work and learning) Non- or semiprofessional, private work contracts Organization of learning Theoretical education in independent organizations Personnel Professionalized, civil servants Regulative Governance, Supervision, Quality control Lander (democratic control) Finance Public (Lander, local)

Labor market, economic demand for qualified workers Corporatist self-administration on the basis of federal regulations Mainly private, vocational schools financed publically Source: Adapted from Baethge et al. (2007: 17); Translation JP. – 10 – Here, Baethge compares a variety of key institutional dimensions that undergird the schism between general education and VET. Whereas general education has as its dominant goal or ideal the development of individual personality, self-control, and autonomy, that of VET is to develop in individuals their occupational competence and agency, such that they can carry out specific tasks.

Thus, the orientation when defining learning goals and elaborating curricula is not a scientific approach guided by a canon of representative knowledge for general education, but rather a view toward the labor market and its demand for qualified workers in the case of VET. In terms of the regulatory pillar, the sixteen German federal States (Bundeslander) not only finance but also exert democratic control as they govern and supervise the content and quality of general education. By contrast, federal regulations guide the corporatist self-administration of VET.

Whereas in VET individuals are quasi-employees, in general education they are pupils or students. The organization of learning is theoretical education in schools on the one hand and praxis-based training that ideally melds work and learning, on the other. In terms of personnel, professionalized civil servants compare to nonor semi-professionals employed under private contracts. 2. 3 Higher Education The German higher education system consists of public and private staterecognized institutions of higher education (ISCED 5A), which are categorized as follows: 1.

Universities (Universitaten) and equivalent higher education institutions (technical universities, education colleges) (Technische Hochschulen/Technische Universitaten, Padagogische Hochschulen); 2. private graduate or professional schools (e. g. , Hertie School of Governance, Bucerius School of Law); 3. colleges of art and music (Kunsthochschulen and Musikhochschulen); and 4. universities of applied sciences (Fach)Hochschulen) and universities for public administration (Verwaltungshochschulen). Universities are the classical type of higher education institution.

At present there are 109 universities operating in Germany whereas most of them are socalled full universities, which offer the whole range of academic subjects. These generally include law, cultural studies, arts and humanities, natural sciences, and economics/business administration, teacher training and, with some exceptions, medicine. Compared with universities of applied sciences, universities traditionally attach great importance to basic research. All types of universities have in common the traditional right to award the doctorate and the postdoctoral lecturing qualification (Habilitation).

Thus the focus is on academic and scientific research and teaching as well as on the training of the next generation of academics. Admission requirements generally include the general higher – 11 – education entrance qualification (Abitur) whereas in some cases admission is restricted to the Numerus clausus or universities select their students themselves. Colleges of art and music offer courses of studies in the area of film, television and media, in the performing visual and design arts as well as in various music subjects.

The number of study places in these colleges is strictly limited. Only applicants who pass an entrance test to prove their talent have the chance of being accepted. In contrast to general admission requirements to higher education, particularly talented applicants can be admitted to studies, even if they do not hold a higher education entrance qualification. Universities of applied sciences (Fach)Hochschulen were introduced in 1970/71 as a new type of institution in the system of higher education in Germany.

They offer application-oriented study courses mainly in economics, engineering, social work, public and legal administration and health and usually offer integrated semesters of practical training. In contrast to the more academic orientation of university courses of studies (Fach)Hochschulen are characterized by their professional orientation including professors, who, in addition to their academic qualifications, have gained professional experience outside the field of higher education.


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