Vocational education and training

Approaches, actors and instruments

Trainee industrial mechanic at the Cedual training centre of Schuler AG in Puebla, Mexico

Germany supports, in its partner countries, the development of vocational education and training systems that are practically based and geared to the needs of the labour market. The various approaches taken and instruments applied are based on the successful features of the dual system of vocational training in Germany:

  • Close cooperation between government and industry
  • Learning on the job
  • Social acceptance of mandatory training and examination standards
  • Education and training for teachers working in vocational education
  • Research into vocational education and training.

Multi-level approach

German development cooperation long ago adopted a successful multi-level approach to promoting the reform of vocational education and training systems:

At the policy level, German experts assist the governments of partner countries in drawing up reform strategies and drafting laws and regulations accordingly. Occupation profiles are revised. Qualification and examination standards are drawn up. Policy advice covers education funding models and the development of information systems for the labour market. A close dialogue between government, industry and civil society is an important aspect of cooperation.

At institutional level, Germany promotes the construction and modernisation of educational facilities and centres of technological excellence. Cooperation between vocational training colleges, training centres and enterprises is supported. Training institutions are advised on the use of new media to improve learning efficiency.

One of the aims is to reach employees of micro and small enterprises in the informal sector. The BMZ works closely with non-governmental actors in development cooperation and local non-governmental organisations, many of whom already have good access to the target groups.

Lastly, at implementation level, Germany promotes training and skills upgrading for teaching and administrative staff. Workshops and classrooms are extended and modernised with German assistance, and teaching and learning materials are provided. Curricula, and teaching and examination materials are revised to comply with the occupation profiles and quality standards set at policy level.

Cooperation with the private sector

Workbench with vices in a training workshop

The private sector is an important partner in Germany's development cooperation programme. The majority of development partnerships with the private sector in the promotion of sustainable economic development are directly linked to vocational training. Since 2011 the BMZ has also supported training partnerships with the German private sector, whereby chambers of trade and associations of trade and industry, along with their vocational training centres and training providers, contribute their know-how to development projects for specific purposes. The aim is to bring vocational education and training still more closely into line with demand and the requirements of the workplace and facilitate an exchange of experience.

Cooperation with civil society

German civil society, especially the Churches, are heavily involved in the field of vocational training and have set up well functioning education and training structures in many partner countries. The BMZ is providing just under 3 million euros in 2014 in support of the activities of the Churches and non-governmental organisations. The support goes to 26 vocational training projects of 13 private organisations in 17 countries.

In 2011, the BMZ set up a vocational education and training team made up of members of the implementing agencies, civil society, the Churches and the private sector, in order to intensify the dialogue with all stakeholders involved in the promotion of vocational training under development cooperation.

Cooperation with multilateral organisations

German development policy is embedded in various international agreements and obligations, notably the goals of the Education for All (EFA) Global Action Plan – in addition to the Millennium Development Goals. In order to be able to contribute to international processes and negotiations, Germany is involved in, for example, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The BMZ takes an active part in bodies of the EU, OECD, G7 and G20 concerned with the promotion of vocational training. Furthermore, the BMZ takes part in developing cooperation at the technical level with, for example, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its vocational training centre UNESCO-UNEVOC, the European Commission, the European Training Foundation (ETF) and with other bilateral donors.

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