Striving for Progress in Arab-German Training Co-Operation
The demands on companies, their services and their employees' professional qualification are constantly subject to change in today's globalized economy. However, the ability to handle modern technologies and a high degree of competence in solving problems continue to be taken for granted and remain important for all employees.
The productivity and competitive capability of companies competing in the global markets can be strengthened in the long term only by systematically developing and expanding employee skills and knowledge. Not only businesses benefit from vocational education. It also provides a safeguard for employability and career opportunities and contributes to the sustained social stability of entire countries.
Successful German approach to qualification The German dual system of vocational education and training, combining in-company training with school-based learning, is regarded worldwide as a success model and example worth emulating. Given the high rates of youth unemployment and the increasing skilled labor shortage in many countries across the globe, the dual qualification method is more desirable and sought after than ever before.
"Work-based learning", that is, industry-oriented vocational training and continuing education for attaining professional competence, is gaining an ever-increasing following of interested parties, proponents and customers throughout the world.
However, in many countries the social consensus regarding the high value of systematic vocational education and training is far less pronounced than in Germany. The governments of most Arab countries are highly committed and heavily invest in promoting widespread acceptance of vocational education and training amongst the population and firmly establishing it in the public perception as a sound basis for professional career development and social participation.
Yet to successfully implement these plans, it is important that a thorough professional qualification does not come to an occupational or social dead end, but rather that attractive jobs, career opportunities and promotions and the corresponding salaries and wages should be available.
The embedding of demand-oriented solutions into national contexts mainly requires the creation of jobs and apprenticeship placements by way of actively involving the businesses, so that students can be integrated into real work processes and the value chain from an early stage. This in turn requires appropriately equipped education centers, modern curricula, a cross-company training provision and examination standards that are based on the respective occupational concept in addition to occupation-related pedagogic qualification of teachers and trainers.
German providers of vocational training and continuing education services in particular offer premium-quality and market-oriented programs and products. They successfully use different concepts and models that are tailored to the specific needs of their customers when entering into new markets and implementing their education services. Development strategies in the Arab world The further expansion or, respectively, the modernization and the reforming of the education and research sector are given high priority in the development planning of Arab states; however, there are great differences regarding implementation between the individual countries. The education sector in the region is already under pressure due to the increasing numbers of pupils and students. Yet the necessary measures are not just limited to creating greater capacities at universities.
The Gulf States in particular strive to diversify their economy in order to be able to offer their young generation adequate employment. Development strategies include the expansion of the manufacturing industry, especially in the high technology sector, as well as the increased establishment of high-quality service industries. These goals cannot be achieved without a corresponding education system.
The qualification of the young local population to meet the demands of the private sector constitutes a particular challenge. At present, by far the greater part of the domestic workforce is employed in the public sector. The private sector is dependent on foreign labor to a degree of more than 90 percent. Many governments aim to change this in order to avoid further inflation of employment in the public sector, which is well-nigh impossible to fund in the medium and long term.
Many companies that are active in the Arab countries, including German businesses, are already involved in the field of vocational training and continuing education. Yet these isolated activities are by no means sufficient. A resounding success requires the increased efforts on part of the domestic businesses. If they were to become a driving force of education reform in their respective countries, they could influence and shape not only their own economic boom, but also that of their countries. Success factors of Arab-German education co-operation Germany has been supporting the Arab world for many years now in its efforts to make progress in reforming the education market, especially in times of widespread political unrest and profound employment market problems.
Even though every country requires its own education system, which it needs to develop independently within the scope of its resources and means, it can incorporate proven elements from another system. German education concepts enjoy a high reputation, especially in the Arab world. Already, there are numerous examples illustrating the win-win potential of co-operation projects in the field of vocational education and training that involve German partners. This has largely to do with the flexibility and quality of German services.
With regards to content, German education providers mainly offer vocational training and continuing education services that follow the dual system approach, that is, the alternating between training at the workplace and systematic learning in courses. In addition to vocational training and continuing education programs, these services include in particular also train-the-trainer programs that aim at developing a local multiplier structure; other services include concepts for the development of curricula, the designing and equipping of training facilities as well as practice-oriented teaching and learning resources. Some companies and syndicates also offer attractive solution packages.
Some countries face particularly urgent economic and social problems; in solving these, they hope to gain fast support from implementing measures in the field of vocational education and training. German education providers offer a host of relatively short courses and programs featuring successive modules. They quickly guarantee a certain degree of employability and at the same time open up specific further development prospects.
The flexibility to move between vocational training and academic education becomes increasingly important in this context. Education measures involving German know-how offer opportunities to continue the organized learning process and thus to update or expand skills and knowledge. Compatible education programs open up occupational development prospects by enabling the easy transition between the various levels and fields of a given education and employment system.
In the event of an education program taking place in Germany either in part or in full, customers moreover purchase a service that goes far beyond the actual education provision. Course participants receive advice and support in the unfamiliar cultural environment, rendering them sufficiently at ease so as to be able to concentrate on attaining new competences. The iMOVE network platform The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) established the network platform iMOVE (International Marketing of Vocational Education) in 2001 to adequately meet the international interest in German services in the field of vocational training and continuing education.
The aim of iMOVE is to promote the internationalization of vocational training made in Germany and to sustainably establish in foreign markets awareness regarding the advantages of co-operating with German partners in this field. iMOVE is a competent partner for both German providers and foreign demanders of education services.
iMOVE supports German providers of education and their international partners with market studies, seminars, workshops, trade missions and trade fair participation as well as with a comprehensive multi-lingual online service provision including a provider database and a B2B marketplace. The Arab world has been one of the most important target markets of "Training - Made in Germany" right from the beginning.
iMOVE and the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry have already organized six issues of the Arab-German Education Forum. In this forum, education experts from the fields of economy, science and politics discuss current developments and projects in the industry as well as its needs with some 250 German and Arab decision makers. The key areas under discussion are dual study concepts, the recruitment and retaining of qualified personnel, the potential of innovative e-learning solutions as well as best practice examples of successful Arab-German co-operation in the field of education.
However, in addition to the exchange of opinions and ideas in the context of the Education Forum, the opportunity for creating mutual trust, and thereby the most important basis for successful partnerships, and the implementation of joint education goals is at least of equal importance.
Autorin: Silvia Niediek, iMOVE; Quelle: iMOVE