Capitolul 6: Formare profesională - școală - universitate
In Saxony-Anhalt, as in the whole of Germany, a distinction is made between
- dual vocational training (in companies and vocational school)
- school-based vocational training (at technical colleges, vocational schools or vocational colleges),
- school-leaving certificate training or special training provided by industry,
- university studies and dual studies,
- further vocational training.
Vocational education and training must not be confused with continuing vocational education and training (CVET), which is offered alongside work at (vocational) academies. The aim here is to adapt knowledge and skills to changing requirements in the occupational field.
Approximately 70% of all vocational training completed in Germany takes the form of dual vocational training (in-company training). "Dual" describes a two-part form of training at two different training locations: The trainee (apprentice) learns theoretical knowledge at the vocational school and practical knowledge and skills at the company. The combination of in-company training and vocational school training guarantees a link between theory and practice. It is precisely because of the combination of theory and practice that this form of training is considered a special feature of the German education system and is also recognised internationally.
Most state-recognised training occupations – currently around 350 – are based on the dual system. Above all, occupations in the skilled trades, commerce, industry, the service sector or agriculture are trained in the dual system. Vocational school instruction normally takes place on 1 to 2 days per week alongside work in the company. In some training programmes, the school lessons are held in block form: In this case, the trainee is at school for a few weeks at a time and then back at the training company. During in-company training, the trainee receives remuneration from the training company.
The short videos of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BiBB) in German and English provide an insight into vocational education and training.
In addition to dual vocational training, there is also school-based vocational training in Germany. There is a choice of around 400 training occupations in Germany. For example, in the field of health and social services (health and nursing assistant, pharmaceutical technical assistant, geriatric nurse, social assistant, educator, etc.), in the field of foreign languages and in the fields of technology and IT (information technology assistant) or design (design technology assistant). The school-based training is completed full-time at state or private vocational schools or vocational academies and lasts 1 to 3 years. Private vocational schools may charge tuition fees.
As a rule, you do not receive any remuneration during the school-based training. However, vocational school students may be entitled to financial support under the Federal Training Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) - better known as Schüler - BAföG.
Foreign language skills are required in many occupations. Find out in which occupational fields your language of origin already gives you a special professional aptitude on the job market.
Abitur training is still a young training programme in Germany. The business community (especially industrial and commercial companies, insurance companies) offers training programmes that are specially tailored to Abitur students and are referred to as "special training programmes for the business community" or "Abitur training".
These training programmes are characterised by practical relevance, close reference to the needs of the economy and high theoretical standards. At the vocational school, knowledge of bookkeeping, accounting, marketing, IT or foreign languages is taught in special classes.
There is special training for A-levels in the following occupational groups in particular:
- Industrial technologist - specialising in data technology
- Computer science assistant
- Computer scientist
- Business data processing specialist
- Air traffic controller
During the training period, one receives remuneration from the training company.
In Saxony-Anhalt, school leavers aiming for an apprenticeship have the opportunity to find a vacancy of their choice in a targeted manner according to their qualifications and interests via the Saxony-Anhalt training portal.
A distinction is made in continuing vocational training:
- Further training (adaptation of knowledge in the learned occupation),
- Retraining (professional reorientation),
- vocational upgrading or additional qualification.
In principle, CVET is also possible while working, i.e. alongside a job.
Further training aims to maintain those qualifications that have already been acquired in a training occupation. They are to be deepened, adapted to technical developments or expanded in such a way that professional advancement becomes possible. The qualifications acquired through further training are usually verified by examinations conducted by the competent bodies (usually chambers of crafts or chambers of industry and commerce).
Continuing vocational education and training refers, for example, to courses attended by skilled workers leading to the master craftsman's examination, courses preparing for examinations for the Fachwirt qualification or courses preparing for an examination to become a trainer in accordance with the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude (AEVO).
Retraining is understood to mean initial or continuing training for an activity other than the one previously performed or learned. Knowledge and experience from the previous occupation often allow the training for the new occupational profile to be shortened compared to a beginner. Under special circumstances, it is also possible for someone without previous vocational training to take part in a retraining measure, but this then constitutes training.
Retraining is an opportunity to qualify for a new occupation if the old occupation can no longer be practised, for example for health reasons. Or, due to the constant structural change on the labour market, there is a changed need for skilled workers and thus different requirements for the training of employees (for example, in the course of digitalisation).
With the help of a retraining measure, a professional reorientation can take place and a new profession can be learned. Retraining ends with an examination before the competent chamber (Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Chamber of Crafts, etc.). It leads, for example, to a recognised IHK vocational qualification or to a journeyman's certificate. The duration of the retraining depends on the actual duration of training for the respective occupation. In most cases, commercial apprenticeships have a training period of 3 years (from 21 months retraining period) and technical professions 3.5 years (up to 28 months retraining period).
In Germany, retraining is often funded by the public sector, mostly the regional job centres and the Federal Employment Agency, sometimes also by the Federal Armed Forces, or as a rehabilitation benefit (statutory accident insurance, German pension insurance, insurance companies, etc.).
THE STRUCTURE OF THE GERMAN SCHOOL SYSTEM
The German school system is structured similarly in all federal states.
PRIMARY SCHOOL (GRUNDSCHULE)
As a rule, school attendance is compulsory from the age of 6 and children enter primary school. The primary school ranges from grade 1 to 4 (in Berlin and Brandenburg 1 to 6) and is the only educational institution that almost all pupils attend together. The principle of residence applies here: this means that children usually attend a primary school near their place of residence. In some Länder, parents can also choose the primary school for their children themselves.
TRANSITION FROM PRIMARY SCHOOL TO LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOL
In the last grade of primary school, the decision is made as to which secondary school (Se-kundarstufe I) the children will attend after primary school. On the basis of the school grades (and possibly other criteria such as learning and work behaviour), the teacher makes a school career recommendation for the secondary level. This recommendation is discussed with the parents in a joint counselling interview. The child's further educational path is decided on the basis of this recommendation. In most federal states, the recommendation is not binding, i.e. the parents can decide which secondary school their child will attend after primary school. However, depending on the federal state, pupils who choose a non-recommended type of school usually have to take an entrance exam and/or pass a probationary period at the chosen school.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS (LOWER SECONDARY LEVEL AND UPPER SECONDARY LEVEL)
After primary school, the school system is divided into different types of schools with different curricula and qualifications.
The offers of the individual schools in secondary levels I and II differ greatly from each other.
The following types of school exist at secondary level I:
- Hauptschulen (up to 9th or 10th grade)
- Realschulen (up to 10th grade)
- Schools with more than one course of education (here, lower secondary or upper secondary school-leaving certificates can be obtained)
- Gymnasiums (up to 9th grade)
- Comprehensive schools (all qualifications can be obtained here)
Secondary level II comprises the following schools
- the gymnasiale Oberstufe (grammar school or comprehensive school from 10th grade to 12th or 13th grade)
- the vocational schools
- further education schools for adults (evening schools and colleges).
A general school-leaving certificate can be obtained at all types of school. Depending on the school-leaving certificate, this entitles the holder to attend various institutions of further education (e.g. university, university of applied sciences, vocational training).
At schools whose aim is to provide a specific school-leaving qualification, all teaching is related to this specific qualification. These are, for example
- the Hauptschule (lower secondary school) (qualification: Hauptschulabschluss),
- Realschule (school-leaving certificate: Realschulabschluss / Mittlere Reife / Mittlerer Schulabschluss),
- the Gymnasium (school-leaving certificate: Abitur).
However, there are also schools where different school-leaving qualifications can be obtained (comprehensive schools). It is only decided in the course of a child's school career which school-leaving certificate the child will obtain.
At integrated comprehensive schools, on the other hand, pupils do not attend a specific course of education. Instead, they can choose between different demanding courses in the individual subjects - so-called remedial, basic and extension courses.
In principle, it is possible to change from one type of school to another in the course of schooling if the required performance is achieved.
In Germany, a school-leaving certificate is not a prerequisite for taking up vocational training, but there are hardly any training companies that will take on a young person without a school-leaving certificate for vocational training. There are also opportunities to catch up on school-leaving qualifications in adulthood.
THE GENERAL EDUCATION SCHOOLS IN SAXONY-ANHALT
Saxony-Anhalt offers a wide range of general education schools for school education. Specific regulations apply here with regard to admission requirements and school-leaving qualifications.
- Primary school
- Secondary school
- Comprehensive school
- Community school
- Grammar school
- Special schools
- Second-chance schools
COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE
All children living in Germany must go to school, which means that school attendance is compulsory. As a rule, compulsory schooling begins after the child has completed the 6th year of life. If a child does not turn 6 until after the start of the new school year (for example, in October), he or she will usually start school in the following year. This depends on when the respective federal state in which your child will go to school has set the "cut-off date" (this can be between 30 June and 30 September). If your child has its 6th birthday before the cut-off date, it will be compulsory to attend school in that year. In all federal states, the new school year begins in August or September. Compulsory schooling also applies to disabled children and young people.
The concrete regulations on compulsory schooling differ in the individual federal states. Children and young people must attend school for at least 9 or 10 years (primary and lower secondary school), depending on the federal state. Afterwards, in some federal states, attendance at a secondary school of the upper secondary level (grammar school or vocational school) is compulsory.
Attendance at state schools is free of charge. In addition, there are also public schools in Germany for which school fees usually have to be paid.
In Germany, the federal states are responsible for education, which is why there are special features in each federal state, especially the names of the secondary school types can differ.
The earliest date a child can or must attend school varies from Land to Land. Find out about the regulations in your federal state from the school authority in your municipality or city as well as from the migration advisory service.
SCHOOLING AND LANGUAGE SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WITH A MIGRATION BACKGROUND
Due to increasing migration and internationalisation, schools are faced with new challenges in order to meet the requirements of many children and young people with a migration background and to enable them to learn well.
In Saxony-Anhalt, the Land Education Authority (Landesschulamt) organises the arrival and teaching of these children and young people together with their teachers and schools. The process of educating children and young people with a migration background is accompanied in an advisory capacity.
The Saxony-Anhalt Education Authority provides comprehensive information for parents and families of immigrants in a series of multilingual documents.
The following documents are available as translated letters and forms in many official European languages:
- the curriculum supplement "German as a Foreign Language" as a basis for educational work in schools.
- the language mediation/interpretation as a support for discussions with parents who speak only very little or no German at all
- the guideline "Hinweise zur Durchführung der Sprachfeststellungsprüfung" as an important support for language assessment.
The Landesschulamt also provides frequent and important forms, cover letters, leaflets and information as parent letters in translations.
You can find out more about the funding here.
GOOD TO KNOW: Students with an immigrant background who are interested in social engagement can take advantage of the Start Foundation programme. Committed and open-minded young people are supported for three years by Start on their educational and life path.
As a well-positioned science location, Saxony-Anhalt has an attractive university location. The state's universities cover the broad spectrum of different types of higher education institutions. Institutions of higher education, including universities, are represented at the following locations
- Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
- Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg
- Anhalt University of Applied Sciences
- Merseburg University of Applied Sciences
- Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences
- Harz University of Applied Sciences
- Burg Giebichenstein University of Art Halle
Depending on the type of higher education institution, the prerequisite for studying at a higher education institution is a higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulreife or Fachhochschulreife). In general, this is the general higher education entrance qualification - the Abitur or the Fachhochschulreife. However, there are also other ways that entitle students to study.
In the case of foreign qualifications, the admissions offices of the universities decide whether the prerequisites for studying are met. The universities themselves decide to what extent academic achievements that have already been completed in another country can be credited towards a degree programme in Germany. You can also contact the "uni-assist" service centre for an inter-university preliminary examination, which is subject to a fee.
STUDYING WITHOUT AN ABITUR
- Subject-related higher education entrance qualification (Fachgebundene Hochschulreife), only applies to the fields of study listed in the school leaving certificate.
- Vocational qualifications that entitle you to study at a higher education institution in Saxony-Anhalt. For example, master craftsman's diplomas and diplomas from advanced vocational training courses.
The Higher Education Qualification Ordinance of Saxony-Anhalt (HSQ-VO) in conjunction with Section 27 of the Higher Education Act of Saxony-Anhalt governs further details on study qualifications.
PROFESSIONALS WITHOUT A HIGHER EDUCATION ENTRANCE QUALIFICATION
Under certain circumstances, employed persons without a higher education entrance qualification can take up studies at universities in Saxony-Anhalt. The ability to study must be proven in a so-called assessment test.
In künstlerischen oder gestalterischen Studiengängen ist eine besondere künstlerische Befähigung nachzuweisen. Das kann z. B. durch Mappen mit Zeichnungen, Aquarellen, Fotografien o. a., durch Probearbeiten oder durch spezielle Eignungsprüfungen erfolgen.
FINANCING AND TUITION FEES
There are various ways to finance your education or studies. In addition to BAföG, various scholarships and the federal government's education loan programme are available.
The website of the Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Science provides information on the possibilities for financing studies, from Bafög to the Deutschlandstipendium.
The following scholarship databases will help you find suitable financing for your studies:
Students from the European Union can also apply for "national scholarships".