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Dually oriented Qualifications
A knowledge base related to the LEONARDO projects INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL

Key message to policy makers


Strategies for economic restructuring, especially in EU countries, assign a major role to education and training policies, which focus on the external efficiency of the education system, i.e. the performance of graduates in the labour market.  The formulation of these policies involves a complex procedure, which has to confront many critical issues such as: equity; relation (parity) of general and vocational education; quality of education and training; access to higher education for more people; access to training throughout life; and the transition from initial education and training to working life. The EU, in spite of its principle (“subsidiary”) to refrain from enforcing a European policy, has nevertheless formulated guidelines for mobilizing national education policies to best adapt to new employment conditions and to the needs of the “learning society”.  For education and training the focus seems to highlight two major issues at the upper secondary education cycle.  First, improving relations between general and vocational education and training, and second, introducing greater flexibility in education systems, relative to the access to higher education for more young people.

Both of these issues were explored by the DUOQUAL project in a research context, which included sixteen European partners. The conceptual framework for the project was defined in a precursor project titled INTEQUAL. The INTEQUAL project explored in seven North-Western European countries the concept of integrating general and vocational education components in the upper secondary curriculum for the purpose of generating dual qualifications, i.e. skills for continuing in higher education and occupation specific skills.  The methodology design for the DUOQUAL project provided for national case studies, small partnerships for the investigation of joint topics and comparative analyses across countries.  Both the summaries for the case studies and a comparative survey are presented in the knowledge base.

The national case studies concentrated on five major points: the national context of economic, social and educational change; the major features of the schemes, in the context of the national systems of education; the educational concepts underlying the schemes; the organizational implications of integrating general and vocational education; and the evidence of success of the schemes. National context conclusions drawn by each partner are electronically accessible in English and in the national language as well.

The joint topics investigated by small partnerships include conceptual ideas of national schemes with dual orientation (Czech Republic, Finland); integrated learning processes (France, Germany, Norway and Sweden) and synoptic assessment (England), developments concerning the concept of generic skills (Denmark, Italy); facilitating progression to higher education (England, Netherlands), new job skills as a means to facilitate youth placement in the labour market (Portugal, Greece) and tracing careers (Austria, France and Germany). Summaries of the topic studies are available in English.

The evidence generated by both projects (INTEQUAL and DUOQUAL) highlights the following educational policy principles:

  • General education must provide preparation for a vocational skill, and vocational training must continue to develop the basic competencies provided by general education.
  • Higher education systems must be flexible enough to accept and foster graduates from vocational education pathways.
  • Upper secondary curricula must integrate general education and vocational training components in order to attract high achievers in vocational education pathways.
  • Dual qualification schemes must be explored further in national education contexts as concepts, which will facilitate the implementation of life long education and training policies.


Stamatis Paleocrassas, on behalf of the DUOQUAL partnership, April 2000

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 First set up: 17/04/2000
Latest update: 29/07/2000
 Contact: Sabine Manning
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