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History of Vocational Education and Training in Europe

Cases, Concepts and Challenges


Edited By Esther Berner and Philipp Gonon

Understanding today’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems requires a comprehension of the rise and development, i.e. of the foundations of topical VET. This book provides a comparative view of its development in Europe. The contributions of renowned authors give insight into conceptual questions, cases and challenges in this field.

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Policy for the Middle Classes vs. the Vichy Dictatorship. A Comparison of the Origins of State-Controlled Education for Workers in Germany and France



1.  Introduction

In what follows I would like to take a closer look at the German-French relations and influences concerning vocational education. The questions I raise have to do with the observation that in France vocational education at secondary level is met with particular disdain. Indeed, at first sight, some outward conditions look similar to those in Germany. Also in France the lowest levels of vocational education after the end of compulsory schooling mean all-day school for one half of the participants, for the other half it is dual vocational education. Official French publications constantly associate and compare the entire system of vocational education at secondary level, in particular the dual system, with Germany. The German system of dual vocational education seems to supply French education planners with a norm to which they often compare the development in their own country. However, secondary level vocational education has not a reputation of being a solid course of education which might be pursued voluntarily and with good prospects for the future. Actually “apprenticeship”, apprentissage, mainly in the crafts as well as in simple services and sales professions, is considered a refuge for underachievers and a political measure for unemployed youths to be taken care of, implying that the best thing would be if every student graduated for university, in order to go on studying there.

Today I would like to start out from this observation: In France, basic professional training, starting at the end of...

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