Since 2002 and through projects implemented by GIZ, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has been supporting the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia in its efforts to reform secondary vocational education. Since 2013 the focus has shifted on the introduction of dual education and educational profiles for craft and technical occupations.
The project “Reform of Vocational Education and Training in Serbia” has developed the cooperative model as a specific form of teaching with dual-education elements, tailored to the circumstances present in Serbia. The cooperation between schools and companies under this education model, novel at the time, reached a higher level with representatives of the economy becoming more actively involved in all phases of the educational process. The shift relative to the so-called traditional teaching is seen in a larger scale, higher quality practical teaching in companies with active student participation in the production process, using the modern machines and with support of instructors who have been trained to work with young people. The companies that had become involved in the cooperative teaching model ensured financial benefits for students paid out as a symbolic cash remuneration or a stipend, covered travel expenses, meals or protective equipment, therefore proving their serious interest in long-term cooperation.
The cooperative model has been applied and tested in three-year, craft and technical profiles in electrical and mechanical engineering and metal processing. The profiles that were selected were the ones with high employment potential, with respective curricula modernised and supplemented to develop comprehensive professional competencies.
National Dual Education Model
The experiences gained in applying the cooperative model were crucial for developing the national dual education model in Serbia. The project provided assistance in developing the Dual Education Feasibility Study, and ensured professional and advisory support to institutions responsible for enhancing legal and regulatory framework. The end result was the enactment of the Law on Dual Education and related bylaws closely regulating the implementation of this education model.
Features of the National Dual Education Model:
- knowledge and skills are acquired both in school and in a company
- in school, students receive general education and vocational theoretical knowledge, and undergo basic practical training
- work-based learning takes place in a company and comprises no less than 20% and no more than 80% of the overall vocational classes
- a company must meet minimum standards to be accredited for dual education
- an “instructor” is a person working in the company and ensuring the implementation of the curriculum through work-based learning and making sure the students acquire competencies prescribed under the respective qualification standard
- the school is to appoint a work-based learning coordinator to plan, monitor, implement and evaluate work-based learning implementation hand in hand with instructors
- the agreements are entered into not only between schools and companies, but also between students’ legal guardians and companies
- the company is to disburse financial compensation to students for work-based learning (no less than 70% of the minimum wage)
- company representatives are involved not only in work-based learning implementation, but also in curriculum preparation and final exams.
Benefits of Dual Education
Dual education allows for better harmonisation between educational offer and needs of the economy, and indirectly ensures employment growth and lower risk of the young professionals’ outflow.
All actors involved benefit from a quality dual education model. School maintenance costs become rationalised by involving the local economy, while students receive qualifications that make them competitive in the labour market. Students, by combining knowledge received in school with the knowledge, skills and attitudes gained during training in the workplace, become fit to respond to the needs of the economy with greater opportunities for employment once they finish their education. On the other hand, participation in dual education gives companies a chance to ensure in-demand staff while in training and hence generate savings in additional staff training.
DECIDE project is working intensively on furthering the communication and cooperation with the schools participating in the project and their partner companies, alongside improving the conditions for implementing the dual education. Besides numerous trainings for schools’ and companies’ representatives, the project provides advisory support and recommendations for institutions responsible for policy making, and implementation and management of the dual education model.
In addition to its key partners, the Ministry of Education and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the project works closely with international organisations supporting the introduction and development of dual education, namely the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and Austrian and Swiss development cooperation agencies, in order to ensure synergy and complementary approach.
GIZ contribution of GIZ to dual education in numbers:
- 6 modernised educational profiles:locksmith-welder, electrician, industrial mechanic, fashion tailor, mechanic for motor vehicles and electro-fitter for network and installations
- between 2014/15 and 2019/20 school years, the number of secondary vocational schools with at least one dual education profile modernised with GIZ support, went up from 8 to 63
- in implementing dual education, over 200 companies partnered with these schools
- conclusive with 2019/20 school year, over 4500 students, of whom approximately 18% girls, enrolled in one of 6 profiles modernised with GIZ support
- about 60% of students who passed the final exam found a job within 6 months after graduation.