Qualifications with a Dual Orientation towards Employment and Higher Education -
Applying a Pattern of Comparative Investigation across European Countries

 LEONARDO Multiplier-effect project (strand III.3.a)

 Knowledge Base


Coordinator: WIFO / Sabine Manning
Duration: December 1997 to April 2000 
Support: European Commission  (Contract No: D/971/12007/PI/III.3.a/CONT ) 
Cooperation: LEONARDO Multiplier-effect project SPES-NET
Basis The multiplier project is based on the LEONARDO S&A project INTEQUAL (REPORT I of the first period), which investigated innovative schemes of qualifications at upper secondary level with a dual orientation towards employment and higher education (dual qualifications). The INTEQUAL REPORT I, comparing the schemes of seven European countries, produced results of substantial relevance for the development of VET in Europe, in particular regarding the cohesion of VET policies: 
  • It gave clear evidence of the potential which dual qualifications offer for improving the quality and prestige of VET. Despite the great diversity of national patterns, dual qualifications show an increasing similarity in basic characteristics, e.g the growing importance of integrated forms of vocational and general education and of action-orientated learning such as project work.
  • By identifying relevant similarities between schemes of dual qualification, the investigation revealed that there are abundant opportunities for the exchange and transfer of experience across schemes and national systems. 
  • Furthermore, the study provided a fully developed methodological pattern of comparative analysis applicable beyond the range of countries included in the investigation. 
Aim In aiming at a significant multiplier effect in DUOQUAL, the comparative analysis, so far representing seven schemes in Northern and Western Europe, will be applied to a new (i.e. additional) group of seven countries, with a focus on partners from Central and Southern Europe. 

This extension will allow for a transfer of established experience and, at the same time, a more differentiated analysis of the diversity of the schemes and their complex relation to the national framework of VET. By covering all major regions and types of VET in Europe, the results of the comparative analysis will gain considerably in relevance and applicability. As the main outcome of this analysis, a set of national conclusions will be provided for advising policy makers and practitioners in VET. 

Approach The basic approach in analysis is to apply the design of the INTEQUAL study to a new group of countries, thereby transferring established experience, acquiring new evidence and achieving a higher level of comparison and conclusions relevant for dissemination. 

As an overall structure of analysis, the schemes are grouped according to the basic types of VET, which were established in the original study: 

    Apprenticeship: Germany, Norway, Switzerland 
    Full-time basic: England, Sweden Greece, Finland, Portugal 
    Full-time specialised: France, Netherlands, Czech Republic 
    Part-time further education: Austria, Denmark, Italy
The analysis of the national schemes of dual qualification, following the pattern of the INTEQUAL REPORT I but centred on the new countries, will concentrate on five major points: 
  1. the national framework of economic, social and educational change, in which the schemes are placed, including the competitive position within Europe;
  2. the major features of the schemes in the context of the national systems of education, in particular with regard to the balance between opening up access to higher education and strengthening the vocational education sector;
  3. the educational concepts underlying the schemes, such as the relation between theoretical/knowledge-based learning and experiential/work-based learning and key skills - in relation to their different national routes;
  4. the organisational implications of integrating general and vocational education, considering methods of cooperation between the traditionally contrasting administrative and financial systems;
  5. the evidence of success of the schemes, in terms of both participation and satisfaction respecting the schemes themselves and their impact on mainstream vocational education.
The analytical work is based on available documents and studies, personal involvement in the monitoring and  evaluation of pilot projects or reforms, empirical observation and interviews. An important part of the project, again focusing on the seven new countries, will be individual workshops at national or regional level, inviting experts, policy makers and practitioners for a joint discussion of national schemes in the light of European comparison. The workshops will stimulate conclusions to be drawn for national policies in VET. These conclusions will be set out both in the mother tongue and in English. 
Dissemination Special measures for disseminating the results of the comparative analysis will be applied. These include: 
  •  producing a comparative study covering all 14 countries to be published in cooperation with CEDEFOP; 
  • presenting up-to-date conclusions for national educational policies in a final study related to schemes of dual qualification in all countries involved. This will be accomplished by specific dissemination activities within the individual countries.
Further dissemination is envisaged at the joint workshops with the SPES-NET partnership. 

UPDATE: Major results of the partnership project are being made available in the Knowledge Base.

Impact It is anticipated that the results of DUOQUAL will have an impact on 
  1. national educational policies, by putting the individual schemes in a broader European context and identifying alternative patterns and experience; 
  2. national curriculum development, by stimulating the transfer of innovative ideas and expertise; 
  3. the evolution of transnational projects, by suggesting issues of innovative skill development related to dual qualifications. 
A wide range of beneficiaries will be addressed by DUOQUAL via publications, national workshops and international conferences. The beneficiaries will include educational policy makers and social partners in VET at national and international levels; educational experts and researchers in the individual countries and the growing European networks; and educational practitioners, including teachers and students. 

 Latest update: 22/03/2000
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