GETTING AHEAD THROUGH EDUCATION. The Qualification Initiative for Germany

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1 GETTING AHEAD THROUGH EDUCATION The Qualification Initiative for Germany Dresden, 22 October 2008

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3 FOREWORD Education is the key to the future of our country. Education must therefore continue to enjoy top priority in future. This is our message. Everyone irrespective of their background must be given the opportunity for an optimum start in life and to get ahead through education. Commitment and performance must pay. This applies to education for the masses as well as for the gifted. Equal opportunities, individual support and performance orientation form a triad in this respect. The Federal Chancellor and the Minister-Presidents of the Länder confirmed their common interests at the Qualification Summit in Dresden on 22 October They set the course for the future. The initial situations and needs with regard to education policy vary in the individual Länder. This means that only the respective Länder governments can provide appropriate answers to regional issues and needs. Federalism has proved successful in the field of education. It is an expression of constructive diversity which awakens creativity and strengthens the specific ability of each and every individual. Federalism in education policy leads to competition and innovation which are unparalleled in other fields of politics. Children and adolescents benefit from the resulting higher quality of education in schools and vocational training. But the further development of our education system did not just begin with the Qualification Summit. Major changes have been introduced in recent years based on the results of international performance comparisons. The Länder are pursuing different approaches in order to achieve the common objective of making Germany a place where everyone can make full use of his or her potential and become involved in the development of our country. Whereas some Länder are focusing on quality development within their multi-track school system, particularly through individual support and practice-based schemes for specific target groups, others are emphasizing the need for children to spend a longer period learning together. The Länder have different answers to the question of whether the state should offer free pre-school education and first-degree study courses. But despite different attitudes on individual questions, all the Länder attach key importance to quality development in the field of education. We can only master the future challenges facing our country if we have well educated people. Education is the respon- 3

4 sibility of the state as a whole. The Länder therefore expect that their commitment in the field of education should be matched at federal level. Good education can only develop if everyone pulls in the same direction. This begins in the home and continues in the cooperation of educational establishments with local partners. In particular, it requires the commitment of local authorities, child and youth welfare agencies, companies, the two sides of industry, universities, churches and associations. Good education is valuable: A good education policy costs money. But money alone does not guarantee quality development. Just as important are attitudes within the family, in day-care centres, schools, universities and society as a whole. Innovativeness begins in the mind. It is a question of the future of our society. This requires courage courage to compete for better solutions. Courage to put proven methods to the test and to attempt new approaches. It also involves encouraging young people to find out that learning and performance do pay, making them aware that they have their future in their own hands. Stanislaw Tillich Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Länder 4

5 The Qualification Initiative for Germany Guiding Principles Germany is facing the challenges of globalization, of demographic change and the increasingly rapid growth of knowledge. We need well trained people to be able to master these challenges. The education system in Germany has improved considerably in recent years due to efforts on the part of the Länder and with the help of the Federal Government. This is demonstrated not least by the results scored by German school students in the OECD s 2006 PISA study. Furthermore, the Initiative for Excellence, the Pact for Higher Education and the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation will supply important impulses for providing for the future well into the next decade. But further steps are needed, particularly at the interfaces between early childhood education, school, training and university. The Federal Government and the Länder intend to undertake these steps with the Qualification Initiative. The Federal Chancellor and the Länder Heads of Government made it clear at their conference on 19 December 2007 that they attach priority to securing the medium and long-term supply of skilled labour. The agreements between the Federal Government and the Länder are characterized by the following guiding principles: 1. Getting ahead through education Education is the key to personal opportunities in life and equal opportunities in a knowledge society. Getting ahead through education is the strategy for ensuring that a person s background does not dictate his or her future. Fair access to education and flexible education systems are the guiding principles of a responsible education policy. 2. Better education from the very start Families must be supported and children provided with stimulating educational settings. A closer interlinking of early childhood and school education is needed to achieve the aim of better education from the very start. 3. Language as the key to education Every child must have the necessary language skills by the time he or she starts school. Targeted, pre-school German remedial courses are necessary to ensure that all children are able to follow lessons at school, play an active part in the classroom and be on an equal footing. 4. Strengthening the MINT subjects (mathematics, information technology, the natural sciences and technology) Children and adolescents should be encouraged to take an interest in mathematics, information technology, the natural sciences and technology. We want to respond to the current shortage of skilled staff in the medium and long term by providing appropriate support. 5

6 5. More training opportunities for school students School leaving qualifications are an important precondition for a successful start in working life. Every qualification must provide follow-up opportunities. 6. Strengthening vocational education and skills acquisition Many vocations will require more knowledge in future. We must enhance training, advanced training and continuing training under the dual system in order to constantly update people s existing knowledge. 7. Securing academic training to safeguard Germany s innovative strength There will be an increasing number of highly qualified jobs in future. It is crucial that we ensure adequate numbers of highly qualified young people in order to maintain and enhance Germany s innovative strength. We therefore need more university entrants and a flexible education system. 8. Lifelong learning Education does not begin at school and it does not stop when a person leaves school. The demands of a society which is undergoing constant change make it essential that people should be able to gain qualifications during their entire life. The will and the ability to undergo lifelong learning must be communicated and strengthened in all phases of a person s life. 9. Entrepreneurial responsibility for the training and advanced training of skilled staff Well trained people are absolutely essential for Germany s success and for providing the next generation of skilled workers. In order to secure and boost Germany s standing, it is also the responsibility of companies to offer young people training places and to enable their staff to undergo further and continuing training. 10. Education, training and qualifications in the federal system The present measures are based on the fact that federalism has proved successful as a state form which encourages diversity and competition. The Federalism Reform has led to a clear division of responsibilities between the Federal Government and the Länder. The Federal Government and the Länder will introduce the appropriate measures and initiatives within their respective areas of responsibility. This ensures that responsible cooperation between the Federal Government and the Länder adequately takes into account the specific conditions and budgetary potential of each Land. There has also been an increase in the Länder s common responsibilities and the need to agree objectives and coordinated measures on the part of the Federal Government and the Länder in fields of national relevance. 6

7 The Qualification Initiative for Germany Objectives and measures on the part of the Federal Government and the Länder The following catalogue of measures is part of the agreement on the Qualification Initiative between the Federal and Länder Heads of Government of 22 October Against the background of education policy objectives, the following Länder, federal and joint measures will be introduced within the federal system and in accordance with the respective federal tasks: 1. Education is to have top priority in Germany. The Federal Government and the Länder will continue to improve the quality of education in their respective areas of responsibility in our country s diverse educational institutions. The Länder will consistently introduce and expand common educational standards in schools. If possible, common standards for Abitur examinations in selected subjects (German, mathematics, foreign languages) should be available from 2010/2011, and for the natural sciences with effect from The Länder will ensure the funding for the Institute for Quality Development in Education (IQB). The Federal Government and the Länder agree to introduce a modern, transparent education monitoring system based on sound methods in order to improve the quality of education on this basis. They will do so through joint education reporting, education research and Germany s participation in international comparative studies. The Federal Government is financing the National Educational Panel Study to enable longitudinal studies on skills development in the course of education. The Federal Government and the Länder agree that Germany should increase its share of expenditure on education and research to a total of 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product by The Federal Government and the Länder are setting up a Strategy Group.This will prepare proposals on how this goal can be financed which it will present to the Annual Conference of Länder Heads of Government on 28 to 30 October The Federal Government and the Länder commit themselves to ensuring joint funding. The Group will consider inter alia the measures stated in Chapter 2 of the catalogue of measures. For this, the Länder expect a higher share of revenue from turnover tax or alternatively that the Federal Government should be willing to increase the proportion of expenditure on education above the current level. The Federal Government disagrees with this at the present time. 7

8 The Federal Government will continue to increase its investments, particularly for financing training and promoting the gifted, for increasing the number of university places in Germany and for continuing education. In so far as demographic developments provide latitude for using resources, the Länder will use these resources in particular to improve the quality of education. 2. Every child should have the best possible starting conditions. Education does not begin at school. On the contrary, a child s potential can and should be developed in an appropriate manner much earlier. The Federal Government, the Länder and the local authorities have already agreed to progressively establish quality and demand-oriented day-care services nationwide for an average of 35 % of children under three years of age by The Federal Government, the Länder and the local authorities will provide funding of approximately 12 billion euros for expanding this sector by 2013, of which the Federal Government will provide 4 billion euros. With effect from 2014, the Federal Government will make at least 770 million euros available to the Länder every year in the form of a grant for running costs via a fixed turnover tax component. By 2010, the Länder will establish the preconditions for compulsory language status observation and assessment procedures for all children in good time prior to their starting school. By 2012, they will ensure needs-oriented, intensive remedial language tuition for children prior to starting school. The Federal Government will accompany the early childhood language teaching with integration courses for parents. The Federal Government and the Länder endorse their intention to implement their promises under the National Integration Plan. This opens new opportunities for academic success for children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds and thus encourages their integration in our society in the long term. In view of the great significance of parents and families for early childhood and school upbringing and education processes, the Länder will expand their range of programmes to activate parents and develop concepts to intensify cooperation between schools, homes and youth welfare services. The Federal Government and the Länder will each contribute towards training the approximately 80,000 additional nursery school teachers and day-care staff needed to extend the range 8

9 of day-care services available for under-three year olds and will introduce a package of qualifications. The Länder aim to improve the training of nursery school teachers, inter alia by offering additional continuing training courses. The Federal Government will furthermore extend the Upgrading Training Assistance Act to include pre-school teaching professions. The Federal Government and the Länder agree to develop key principles for skills demands, to approve framework conditions regarding social insurance law and to jointly implement a Programme of action for child day-care. The Federal Employment Agency will support targeted qualification schemes at short notice, in particular schemes for women returning to work and for day-care staff, providing they meet the necessary preconditions. The Länder will endeavour to train and employ an increasing number of nursery school teachers and other pre-school teaching staff with a migrant background. The Länder also want to persuade more men to qualify in the field of nursery school teaching, education and child care. In so far as this is not already the case, the Länder will make cooperation between child day-care facilities and primary schools compulsory. The Länder will develop coordinated learning objectives for child day-care facilities and primary schools. The Länder, with the support of the Federal Government, are working within the framework of the current division of responsibilities to ensure that early childhood support (Social Code IX) is available for disabled children and children threatened by disability before they start school. The Länder welcome the commitment by the Federal Government to grant needy children a sum of 100 euros at the beginning of each school year up to and including grade ten. They demand that the Federal Government immediately reassesses benefits for children under the 2nd Book of the Social Code (SGB II) as well as benefits under the 12th Book of the Social Code (SGB XII) and provides a specific assessment of a child s needs as a basis. Measures must also be introduced to ensure that benefits under SGB II and SGB XII also cover children s special needs with regard to the provision of lunch at all-day schools or at schools with afternoon lessons and activities and in child day-care facilities, as well as the procurement of special learning aids for pupils. The Länder also demand that the Federal Government, as an accompanying measure, supports the employment of additional youth social workers, inter alia at all-day schools. 9

10 In addition, the Länder also demand that the administrative agreement on the Investment Pact 2008 regarding the renewal of social infrastructure with a focus on energy should be continued beyond Everyone should be able to gain school-leaving and vocational qualifications Educational qualifications are an important basis for a person s further path through life. Measures must be taken to ensure that all pupils in courses leading to a Hauptschule (lower secondary) leaving certificate succeed in gaining this qualification. The Federal Government and the Länder aim to halve the number of adolescents leaving school without qualifications from a national average of 8 percent to 4 percent and of young adults without vocational qualifications who are capable of undergoing training from 17 percent to 8.5 percent by the year Everyone who is able and willing must be given the opportunity to return to education and gain school leaving qualifications. The Federal Government and the Länder in association with industry are implementing measures aimed at strengthening and consolidating the training culture of the dual system. These measures focus on branches of industry which have trained a below average number of people in the past. The Federal Government and the Länder will inter alia identify these sectors, taking into account specific regional activities to cover the demand for skilled staff, and encourage them to increase their efforts to provide training through information campaigns. The Federal Government and the Länder in association with industry are launching the JOBSTARTER CONNECT initiative to improve preparation for training and the transition from school to vocational training, particularly for disadvantaged persons. o o Turning transitional periods into training periods: The Federal Government and the Länder will cooperate closely with companies to transform the transitional system into an entry system which connects with in-company training and can be credited towards training. Training modules inter alia will be tested for this purpose. Measures will be introduced to extend the possibility of crediting equally good, full-time school training qualifications. Making young people aware of their strengths and weaknesses at an early stage: With financial support from the Federal Employment Agency, the Länder will draw up systematic competence profiles before pupils leave school to facilitate the transition from general schools to vocational training schools and the dual system. 10

11 Comparisons and assessments, career guidance measures and systematic competence profiles will make it possible to identify and deal with learning deficits at an early stage and to thus improve training maturity. The Federal Government will create the preconditions for the nation-wide introduction of the Career Choice Passport. It is considering whether the introduction of an electronic version would reduce the number of young people who cannot be reached by the range of funding measures. o In-school preparation for working life: Compulsory careers guidance will be provided at all general and special schools with concrete measures involving the school s partners (parents, vocational schools, school agencies, employment offices, youth welfare offices, foundations, companies, trade unions and other local stakeholders), also with the aim of extending the career choice range of girls and boys. The Federal Government and the Länder agree to offer enhanced careers guidance services at all schools with courses leading to a Hauptschule leaving certificate and for pupils at special needs schools. This measure also includes promoting local partnership networks. Intensive careers guidance starting at the beginning of the last but one school year of Secondary Level I and measures to increase the practical relevance of lessons will help pupils to master the transition from school to vocational training. These efforts will be accompanied by a pilot scheme involving mentors to accompany the transition to working life. The Federal Government and the Länder agree that measures to enhance careers guidance should be intensified with funds from the Federal Employment Agency. o o Giving previously unsuccessful applicants a chance to receive a traineeship: The Federal Government and the Länder in association with the two sides of industry will establish the preconditions for significantly reducing the number of applicants without vocational qualifications by The training bonus which the Federal Government has introduced is intended to reach 100,000 previously unsuccessful young applicants. The Länder will support measures to test training modules. The Federal Employment Agency will provide increased assistance for disabled and socially disadvantaged young people. Modernizing training: The Federal Government will reform the Instructor Aptitude Regulations with a view to quality assurance without affecting willingness to provide vocational training. The Federal Government in association with the two sides of industry and in coordination with the Länder will modernize the recognized training occupations to meet 11

12 demand and will structure recognized training occupations in related fields to form groups of occupations with common core skills and options for further specialization in accordance with the qualification requirements of the labour market. This should increase flexibility between related occupations. In the same way, measures must be taken to create more occupations which give school students with more practical talents a successful start in working life. o Encouraging people to return to education to take their Hauptschule (secondary general school) leaving examination: The Federal Government will extend its support programme for young people who have reached school-leaving age by introducing a legal entitlement to preparation for a Hauptschule leaving certificate for adolescents and adults under a law to realign labour market policy instruments. Parallel to this, the Länder will offer qualification schemes for people returning to education to catch up on qualifications. The aim is to offer all young people, and particularly those from migrant backgrounds, who want to and are able to achieve qualifications an opportunity to do so. The Federal Government and the Länder agree to further improve the opportunities and framework conditions for modular return to learn programmes for persons without school-leaving qualifications or without employable qualifications. The Länder will improve the preconditions for enabling all suitable pupils from special needs schools to take the Hauptschule school leaving certificate in addition to their own specific school leaving certificate. The share of pupils at special needs schools as a whole is to be reduced through integration measures during elementary education. In particular, the Länder will strengthen their measures to supply basic education by providing literacy schemes. In association with the corresponding partners (e.g. the Federal Employment Agency and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees) they will develop and expand schemes to encourage integration for migrants, ranging from literacy courses to providing job maturity. 4. Everyone should have the opportunity to get ahead through education. The Federal Government and the Länder intend to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get ahead through education. Anyone who wants to undergo further vocational training and get ahead should have the opportunity to do so and receive support. The Länder will focus quality development measures more strongly on the aim of increasing flexibility and connectivity in 12

13 the education system. This enhances the educational success of young people regardless of their social background or migrant background. These measures aim to improve the performance of adolescents from migrant families to the average level of all school students. The Federal Government and the Länder will improve the transition from vocational training and/or continuing education to higher education by means of a package of upgrading measures. With these measures, the Federal Government and the Länder intend to significantly increase the number of first-year students with vocational qualifications but without higher education entrance qualifications by o o o o By 2010, the Länder will formulate standard preconditions under which master craftsmen, technicians, people with vocational qualifications in a commercial or financial occupation and people with similar qualifications will be eligible to enter higher education and will be entitled to study the relevant subjects at institutions of higher education following the successful completion of vocational training and three years of experience in their occupation. The institutions of higher education will credit equivalent vocational qualifications as being academic achievements. The Federal Government will provide scholarships for particularly gifted people with vocational qualifications who wish to start a degree course. This scheme can be expanded with corresponding commitments from third-party stakeholders. The Federal Government and the Länder intend to launch a competition in 2010 entitled Lifelong Academic Qualification (working title) to promote the development of practically relevant courses at institutions of higher education which can be pursued alongside work or training and to enhance the integration of employed persons and people with vocational qualifications in higher education. The Länder are working to ensure that the institutions of higher education extend their range of study and further training courses for working students. These also include virtual study courses and open universities. The Federal Government will extend the Upgrading Training Assistance Act. By mid-2009, the Federal Government and the Länder will decide in how far existing procedures for recognizing a person s achievements can be extended to include people from migrant backgrounds. Qualifications which have been gained abroad should be appraised quickly as to whether they can be recognized. If appropriate, a partial recognition should be granted. 13

14 In the case of partial recognition, the Federal Government will provide appropriate support for supplementary and additional qualifications. The Länder will expand opportunities for getting ahead via vocational training schools. 5. More young people should take a degree course. The Federal Government and the Länder are accepting responsibility for ensuring that anyone who is able and wishes to study receives an opportunity to do so. It is the joint aim of the Federal Government and the Länder to increase the percentage of new students to a national average of 40 percent of a year group. The Länder will also considerably increase the number of degrees and other credentials. The Federal Government and the Länder will continue to implement the Higher Education Pact 2020 to meet demand. Additional opportunities for the expected number of university applicants must be created by 2015 when years 12 and 13 will both leave school at the same time. The Federal Government and the Länder agree that full use must be made of the potential of approximately 275,000 additional university entrants by In this context, the Länder are aiming in particular to expand universities of applied sciences and sandwich degrees. The Federal Government and the Länder will discuss possibilities for expanding the scholarship system for students by involving industry and reviewing current funding programmes and will draft proposals. Furthermore, they will review the further development of student grants. The Federal Government and the Länder agree to continue and develop the joint Excellence Initiative and the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation beyond 2010, following an evaluation, in order to offer young people in Germany conditions which can compete with conditions abroad. The Federal Government and the Länder agree that better use must be made of the range of university places available. The Federal Government will support the reorganization of the Central Office for the Allocation of Study Places (ZVS) introduced by the Länder to become an efficient service agency which will begin work in time for the 2009/2010 winter semester. The demand-based expansion and/or safeguarding of university places under the Pact for Higher Education and the improved exploitation of available places should reduce the number of courses subject to a local numerus clausus. 14

15 The Länder will continue their measures to improve the student/ teacher ratio in bachelor and master s courses, particularly in subjects which are in great demand. They will take into account any necessary increase in this ratio when funding the institutions of higher education. In addition to consistently implementing the Bologna Process, the Länder will endeavour to ensure that the institutions of higher education create study structures which ensure that courses of study can be completed within the standard period and expand innovative approaches to introducing tailor-made courses (for example, sandwich courses, part-time courses, use of the new media, block courses or measures to make universities more family-friendly) in an effort to significantly reduce the number of university drop-outs. The Länder are endeavouring to ensure that the institutions of higher education make their contribution to improving conditions in the field of teaching, particularly by establishing quality management systems, measures to improve teaching skills and optimizing course organization and counselling. The Länder agree that particular importance must be given to securing small disciplines, particularly in the humanities and cultural sciences, also with a view to increasing international networking. This requires cross-länder coordination. 6. More people should be filled with enthusiasm for scientific and technical vocations. Germany needs more people with qualifications in the MINT subjects (mathematics, information technology, natural and technological sciences). After all, our country relies on technical innovations; our economic strength is based on sound training and creative research. Particular incentives will be introduced for university entrants in the MINT subjects and for people with relevant vocational qualifications within the context of the Pact for Higher Education. The Länder will continue to improve the quality of mathematics and science teaching and to promote the MINT subjects, particularly at schools. In order to interest young people in technical and scientific questions at an early age, the Federal Government together with other stakeholders will support the House of Little Scientists initiative at up to 10,000 child day-care centres. 15

16 With the National Pact for Women in MINT Careers, the Federal Government in association with industry, science and the media intends to contribute to encouraging young women to choose professions in these areas. The Federal Government and the Länder are undertaking an additional effort to secure the next generation of skilled staff in MINT vocations. They are inviting industry to play a larger role in activities at nursery schools and schools as well as in the field of training and higher education aimed at improving qualifications in mathematics and the natural sciences. These activities include in particular the expansion of MINT scholarships, particularly for students undergoing teacher training, and increased funding of schools with a focus on the MINT subjects. 7. More people should take advantage of the opportunity for continuing education. The Federal Government is launching a broad package of measures in this area. It will introduce a continuing education bonus and encourage learning locally in association with foundations and local authorities, taking into account the existing infrastructure for continuing education in the Länder. Furthermore, the Federal Government and the Länder will coordinate and improve counselling in the field of continuing education. The Federal Government will support the Länder in promoting counselling in this area. The Federal Government and the Länder are aiming to increase participation in continuing education from 43 percent (2006) to 50 percent of the working population by 2015 in cooperation with the two sides of industry. Measures should address the group of low-skilled workers in particular. This calls for a concrete effort on the part of companies and employees as well as the two sides of industry. The Federal Government will launch a continuing education campaign, develop strategies to increase the motivation of all employees to take part in continuing training measures and encourage activities in the field of continuing education for and in small and medium-sized enterprises. The Federal Employment Agency will increase its efforts to promote continuing training. The Federal Government will support the efforts of the two sides of industry to increase participation in continuing training activities on the part of employees and companies, inter alia by improving the protection of credits under social legislation (long-term learning accounts) and by means of social partner programmes under the European Social Fund (ESF). The Federal Government and the Länder will contribute through reentry programmes to making targeted use of the potential of well trained women returning to work following a family career break. 16

17 The Federal Government is aiming for an alliance on continuing training with the two sides of industry. It will be coordinated with the Länder. In view of the need for lifelong learning, the Federal Government and the Länder will support efforts to provide/gain qualifications on the part of companies and employees with suitable measures and programmes. In particular, it will work towards increasing the share of older and of low-skilled employees and employees from migrant backgrounds in continuing education and will focus on cooperation with the trade associations. 8. Report to the Federal and Länder Heads of Government in 2010 The competent ministers will report to the Federal and Länder Heads of Government on the status of the implementation of the Qualification Initiative in

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