For half a year now 26 young men in Nové Mesto, a northern district of Bratislava, Slovakia, have stood at the workbench for several days a week, and on the other days gone to school. They are completing their education as industrial and construction mechanics. The special feature: when they have finished this course of studies, they will receive a double qualification: a school leaving certificate and a vocational qualification.
"This pilot project is intended to set an example and show other companies that it is worth investing in dual education", said Georg Schütte, former State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), at the launch of the educational programme.
The German model of dual education, in which young people are prepared for a career by a combination of practical training in a company and education at a vocational school, is increasingly popular worldwide.
In an arrangement with Germany three years ago, and with the participation of the European Commission, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Slovakia and Latvia have agreed to adopt the structures of the dual educational system.
Russia uses the same system to train mechatronic technicians, warehouse logisticians, bakers and cooks; in India the first group of young people are being introduced to the foundations of metalworking; and in Brazil toolmakers are also completing a dual education. Cooperations also exist with China and Thailand. And in Malaysia there is already a qualification based on the German master craftsman qualification.
Implementation, however, is not always so easy: Slovakia, for example, first had to put a new Vocational Training Act into effect before the system could be launched.