Part-Time Vocational Education
All young adults who want to prepare for a profession outlined by the vocational education law must attend a dual education program. The length of the vocational programs vary, but they are typically between 2 and 3 ½ years in length, and they require the successful completion of a final examination. The Berufsschule is the school form through which our dual education programs are offered. Unlike the general education schools, which are under the direct control of local and regional authorities, the responsibility for the dual system of education is shared by a number of interested parties. These include the KMK (Standing Conference of Culture Ministers from the regional German states), the states, and vocational teachers along with representatives from industry, the trades, and trade unions. Representatives of each of these cooperate in the preparation of the training regulations, which form the basis for the curricular guidelines issued by state Ministries of Education. In addition, the Federal Institute for Vocational Training conducts research to monitor changes in the economy and technology.Programs are generally divided into basic and specialized levels. Students may attend school 1 to 2 days a week and are involved in practical training in the private sector during the remainder of the week but also do their vocational school training in block scheduling i.e. classroom instruction and on-the-job training are not integrated into the same week, but offered in separate periods of time. Our BBS Buxtehude features both models: 1 and 2 days of vocational schooling for the business job classes and the block scheduling for the technically oriented apprentices e.g. electricians and mechanical engineers.In addition to vocational subjects, students must take German, English, politics, religion, and physical education.A student’s vocational education (Berufsschule) concludes with a completion examination administered by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Other Forms of Initial Vocational Training
In addition we also feature full-time specialised vocational schools which do not confer vocational qualifications, but basic vocational training in specific occupational fields among which are economics, information technology and household economics. This period of training can be credited to trainees if they enter the dual system, shortening the length of training in this system. Our one or two-year full-time vocational schools in the fields of economics, household economics and information technology in some cases – if attended sucessfully – confer the school-leaving certificate otherwise gained upon graduating from the Lower level secondary schools (Realschulen, Sek II und erweiterter Sek II –Abschluss) as well, in certain combinations even the Upper level secondary school-leaving certification which entitles the student to admission to any polytechnic school (Fachhochschulreife). Our BBS is also physically and administratively combined with vocational Gymnasien known as Fachgymnasien which in our case are the Fachgymnasium of Ecology, Home economics and Household management, the Fachgymnasium of Technology and the Fachgymnasium of Economics. These institutions of Upper level secondary education are equivalent to the last 3 years of secondary education, grades 11 through 13 and confer the Upper level secondary school-leaving certification which entitles the student to admission to any institution of higher education, including the university (Allgemeine Hochschulreife). Our vocational students rarely repeat a grade; they are generally promoted and passed along until the final exam. If a student fails, it is possible to repeat the last year and extend the period of training.
Text: Hans Engels