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The German-Russian VET collaboration has been an example of successful cooperation and dynamic development for many years. On 7 June, the departments of education from both countries met together with other stakeholders in Munich to plan the next steps. The Russian delegation used the visit in order to look at examples of best practice.
Ahead of the annual meeting of the German-Russian working group, the Russian delegation led by Dr. Natalia Zolotareva – the General Director in the Russian Department for Education (MOE) with responsibility for securing a skilled workforce and for continuing education and training – visited the “Arena4U” career orientation programme in the Munich Allianz Arena. Sixty pupils from a Munich secondary school specialising in commerce were learning interactively about approximately 30 occupations which are required to ensure the smooth running of a stadium. The delegation all responded very positively in light of the 2018 Football World Cup which is being held in Russia. Information regarding this type of career orientation will now be passed on to the Ministry for Sport and work will be undertaken to adapt activities such as these over the longer term for Russian stadia.
In the afternoon, the Guild for Painting and Lacquering gave an impressive presentation covering the full spectrum and excellence of the traditional skilled craft as well as the good opportunities which exist for business start-ups. The guild in Munich has produced several World Champions at the WorldSkills competition and they also offer academy classes for trainees with particular talent. The WorldSkills competition is very highly regarded in Russia. The Russian party expressed interest in cooperating with the Guild with regard to developing standards and training.
An information event at the Department for Human Resource Education and Management of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich offered an insight into the broad academic education and training of the school education authority.
The following day, the 10th meeting of the German-Russian VET working group was opened by Frithjof Maennel, Deputy Head of the Directorate General for International Cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In the Martinsried bei München innovation centre, Maennel emphasised the dynamic development of the German-Russian collaboration in vocational education and training. He explained that together with the Russian partners, it has been possible to integrate the activities of the German stakeholders, such as those of the German-Russian Chamber of Foreign Trade (AHK), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and GOVET, within the very wide-ranging reform activities of the Russian Federation. He added that the innovative transformation of an entire system in the largest country in the world by land area would certainly be a long-term and complex process.
For her part, General Director Zolotareva underlined the effectiveness of the German-Russian VET collaboration and the high regard in which this is held. She commented that the project with 13 regions, which is introducing dual vocational education and training, is widely respected in Russia and that this was not least the result of the German-Russian collaboration in vocational education and training. She explained that the goal of the President of the Russian Federation was to raise the level of qualification in the fifty most important occupations to international level. The key areas are IT and communications technology, transport and logistics, industry and engineering technology as well as design and services.
Six regions have been selected from a national competition in which performance centres for vocational education and training are being created. These centres manage the areas of WorldSkills, dual initial and continuing vocational education and training and the qualification of vocational education and training staff. The performance centres are located in the regions of Moscow (construction), Ulijanovsk (transport/logistics), Sverdlovsk (heavy machinery, tool making, metals technology), Tyumen (service, art, design), Chuvashia (automation, sensors, electronics) and Tatarstan (IT and communications technology) as well as Khabarovsk (specialism yet to be determined).
The intention is now to intensify the collaboration in the area of standards development and inter-company internal and continuing education and training centres. The other organisations participating at the meeting – the Foreign Office, the Moscow Chamber of Foreign Trade, iMOVE, the German-Russian Youth Forum, the Berlin Guild of Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, the Association of Vocational School Teachers, the Goethe Institut and the National Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts (ZWH) – provided assurances of their willingness to cooperate.
As part of the systemic consultation, GOVET is implementing study visits, the development of agreed materials, capacity building measures and is also deploying experts. For example, in order to provide information nationally and to enable the exchange of views between specialists, the education and training portal “Prof-Mayak” was set up. The regular meeting of the working group encourages a joint approach to advancing activities and examines the progress made.
The challenges faced in transforming the Russian vocational education and training system are the lack of modern learning materials and equipment in vocational schools and businesses, the lack of involvement from the business community and the low qualification levels of vocational education and training staff, in particular in the practice-based delivery of content. Initial mechanisms are certainly in place for involving employers in the development and modernisation of vocational education and training standards, however learning location cooperation involving schools and business is not yet regulated and remains underfunded.