Press release

BIBB Board adopts recommendation on an international comparative study on vocational education and training

03/2008 | Bonn, 17.01.2008


The Board of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) has adopted a recommendation concerning an international comparative study on vocational education and training ('VET PISA'). In their majority decision, the Board members representing employers, labour and the federal states "fundamentally support the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to compare the quality of vocational education and training on an international basis". At the same time however, they were critical of the already released preliminary work done in advance of the study, the methodological concepts and the submitted tools. The Board members are concerned that they are not enough to measure and record adequately the comprehensive vocational proficiency taught through the 'dual' vocational training system (which combines part-time schooling with practical work experience).
A large portion of the typically German dual vocational training being offered today is conducted in the course of modern, in-company work and business processes. As the Board noted, methods which assess the outcomes of these types of learning processes and thus take adequate account of vocational and occupational skills are still underdeveloped. According to the Board, the one concept that has been submitted to date for measuring vocational skills still focuses too much on knowledge that is learned in school or through courses - and does not cover comprehensive vocational proficiency. This places dual vocational training at a disadvantage vis-à-vis school-based or academic teaching of knowledge, especially in light of the fact that most training systems in Europe are school-based.

For this reason, BIBB's top body is calling for the development of scientifically substantiated tools and methods for measuring vocational competences that are based on modern work processes. The BIBB Board notes that the focus of international comparative studies on vocational education and training must be on measuring skills in real work processes. Only in this way is it possible to adequately assess the different forms of vocational training and qualification between schools and enterprises in Germany or adequately compare them on an international basis.

Under German law, the BIBB Board has the task of advising the German government on fundamental issues involving vocational education and training. Representation on the Board of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training is equally divided between labour, management, Germany's federal states and the federal government.

The text of the recommendation issued by the BIBB Board concerning an international comparative study (large-scale assessment) of vocational education and training: