General Education and Initial Vocational Training in Germany - The "Flexicurity Route" of Modernization under Aspects of Flexibility, Transferability and Mobility

Main point of the working paper presented here is to outline the reform path of initial vocational training (policy) in Germany. Flexibility on the one hand and economic and social security on the other are two sides of the same coin of that what is called "soziale Marktwirtschaft" in the Federal Republic of Germany. Dependent on the major macroeconomic developments across the world, the social market system and, as a integrated part of it, the Dual VET System is in change. The route of modernization the Dual System can be characterized as "flexicurity". Flexibility seems to be the key word in all countries of the EU since the nineties, when listening at the political debates and looking at labour market dynamics (NIJHOF et al 1999, p. 4). In order to understand, to describe and to anticipate the future structure of VET systems NIJHOF et al used a systems' concept; and they stipulated the forms of system flexibility as flexibility of delivery, curricular flexibility and flexibility of pathways (NIJHOF et al 1999, p.18). This is helpful to classify and to specify the different functions of flexibility related to the Dual VET System and its contexts. Moreover, the flexibility of the decision-making-structure behind the scenes of learning venues, training regulations and pathways in vocational career development is of most important relevance when we discuss the needs for modernization of the Dual VET System in Germany.

As the German system of initial and further vocational training is part of the federal education system as a whole it is useful to start with some general remarks on that system and the access to higher education with its impact on the vocational training system as the less attractive alternative. Then I shall have a closer look at the Dual System. Until now this system is based on the principles of dualism, vocationalism and corporatism. These principles are characterized by a relative high standard of built-in flexibility combined with tradition-based forms of security against the risks of modernization.



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