Private dual vocational schools in Serbia
Ernst Klett Präsenzlernen Osteuropa GmbH ("Klett EDU") • Experience with practical curricula and with training teaching personnel
The Klett Group is a leading educational company in Europe with an international presence in 18 countries. Its offer includes traditional and modern education and training media for everyday school life as well as lesson planning, specialist literature and fiction. The Klett Group also runs a large number of educational institutions, from nurseries and schools through to distance learning schools, specialist distance learning schools, and face-to-face higher education institutions.
Key elements of German dual vocational education and training
The development over recent years has seen Belgrade gain a private educational school with Klett EDU and, since 2019, the school has been delivering and implementing key elements and practices of German dual vocational education and training. During the foundation phase, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supported the school's establishment as part of the funding initiative "International VET"
While in Serbia efforts are certainly being made to organise vocational education and training on a more practical and dual basis; achieving lasting change in an education system is a herculean task and is dependent not least on the will and acceptance of the teaching personnel at the schools. Serbian companies are also having to cope with the migration of young people to other European countries.
This growing shortage of skilled workers in Serbia was the original reason for the initiative which led to the founding of Klett EDU. The situation is currently worsening as there is a clear trend towards bringing production capacity back from Asia to Europe in order to shorten overstretched supply chains.
Government accredited training courses
Klett EDU is currently offering training programmes in the areas of industrial mechatronics, hospitality, welding and German.
The occupational profiles are integrated in the Serbian education system as post-secondary training courses and are aimed at those who have completed three or four years at a vocational school. The mechatronics technician and welder training programmes are accredited by the Serbian Ministry of Education; the eight-month mechatronics technician course is accredited at qualification level 5 which is equivalent to a master craftsman qualification. There are also training courses which have been developed specifically at the request of individual clients. These include training on a schematic design and simulation program for pneumatics, hydraulics and electrical engineering, which is used internationally, and on programmable logical controllers.
Klett EDU has teaching rooms, including a training workshop, in the centre of Belgrade. The courses last for between three months and one year and are intended for individual clients (German courses) and corporate clients. Klett EDU is currently cooperating with 20 partner companies. These clients include the beverage company PepsiCo, the pump manufacturer Grundfos and the Serbian companies Galeb (electronics) and Neoplanta (food). Around 150 participants have so far made use of the courses on offer. The cost of the courses is covered by the clients and partly the Serbian employment office in the form of grants.
Klett EDU has a highly specialist team in Belgrade consisting of seven employees with extensive experience in setting up and delivering course profiles of a modern and practical nature. In particular they have developed specialist expertise in the development of practical curricula which can actually be implemented at a local level, and in the training of teaching personnel. There are 32 teaching staff in total.
Learning situations as a didactic concept
To start with, developing an easy-to-use didactic system which is well received by local teachers and learners was not a simple task.
Close collaboration with Freiburg University of Education led to the idea of working with so-called learning situations. These are small learning projects to be implemented independently by the students and involving specific problems such as those encountered in day-to-day work in the area of pneumatics. These learning situations are tackled by learners, with support from the teacher, over one to three days. The underlying content is worked through on a theoretical basis beforehand and afterwards. A three-month course at Klett EDU consists of 13 such learning situations.
I have been particularly impressed by the learning situations – we literally forget the time while we are tackling the problems together.
Milos Majkic, course participant from the company Grundfos
Responses to the Klett EDU offers have been entirely positive. "I have been particularly impressed by the learning situations – we literally forget the time while we are tackling the problems together. Also, in the past, I only ever did something because somebody told me to. Now I understand why I’m doing something and how I can do it myself," explains Milos Majkic, a course participant from the company Grundfos. Luka Ljubicic, an employee in the Pepsico HR department, is also happy with the offer: "Klett EDU has supported us from the start with maximum effort and extraordinary professionalism."
For interested parties there are a range of different opportunities for cooperating with Klett EDU such as training at a local level and consultancy but also the running of internal company training centres. Besides the core business of training existing employees in companies, Klett EDU is able to develop course profiles and didactic concepts in technical and commercial subjects together with companies and adapt these specifically to the prior learning of teachers and pupils.
In addition to this, Klett EDU offers the development of company-specific course materials and support in the organisation and operation of training workshops in order to save companies from making expensive investments for little gain. An offer relating to the planning and implementation of accompanying courses and seminars allows Klett EDU to specifically target higher-level schools and universities in order to compensate for any deficits in practical focus and solution-orientated learning and working in subjects such as materials science and hospitality.