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“Could the Vocational Training in the DUAL SYSTEM in Germany be a model for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Palestine?

In order to meet the challenges which the future holds, the Palestinian society needs young people who are independent, creative and willing to work. Young people need training which enables them to apply their own personal capabilities and to play a creative role in the development of the changing working world, technology, environmental protection and regional and international cooperation.

In Germany, vocational training is provided by the private sector and the state. As a result, there is a large variety of training possibilities and qualifications.

One column of the German TVET scheme is the apprenticeship training of skilled worker in the dual system.

The dual system differs from pure school education, such as is common for vocational training in many other countries, in two main respects:

In the dual system, the larger part of the learning process takes place not in the school, but in production facilities or service enterprises in industry, commerce, home management, and agriculture. The students are trainees in a company. They are released from work for the purpose of attending school. They receive formal practical training in a company for three or four days per week and at a part-time theoretical training in a vocational school for one or two days per week.

In Germany responsibility for the training is shared by all those involved: employers, employees and governmental authorities cooperate at all levels. The theoretical technical education in the vocational schools is in the responsibility of the state, while the practical training is in the responsibility of the company. Such cooperation is subject to legal regulations and has proved to be successful. State and companies share also the costs of training. The costs of company training are borne by the private sector, the costs of vocational schools from public funds. Companies provide training voluntarily at their own expenses because they believe that this is the best way in which to provide for their own need for skilled staff, and because an experienced, carefully trained skilled staff is necessary in order to maintain and increase their own performance and competitiveness.

No company is obliged to provide training and no young person is obliged to undergo training. However, approximately 70% of all school leavers today embark on training under the dual system. (In Palestine less than 3% of all school leavers embark on Technical and Vocational Education and Training -TVET-) One of the most obvious advantages of the dual system is the practical training in the companies which takes place under conditions and using machines and facilities which reflect the current state of the art (simply of financial reasons, the equipment in school workshops is always in danger of quickly becoming out-of-date). On completion of their training skilled workers are able to enter a qualified position immediately.

The purpose of technical tuition received at the vocational school is to promote and to supplement the training received by students in companies at a theoretical level and to improve and fill gaps in general education.

In Germany vocational training of skilled worker has a long and successful history. But is this scheme also suitable for Palestine?

Palestine inherited a school-based training scheme to qualify skilled worker. This scheme has to be adopted according to the needs of the labor market. Rapid change in industry and commerce may require new skills to be taught to future workers, and training regulations have to be modified accordingly.

Workers, too, are to be enabled to respond with flexibility to changing conditions. To this effect they must be given training that offers more than technical knowledge and occupational skills. Training therefore should include more complex occupational requirements and so-called key skills (e.g. to work as a team, to handle customers or suppliers.

Apprenticeship training according to the dual system in Palestine should concentrate on small and medium-sized companies for the practical on-the-job training. E.g. A school leaver signs a Training contract with the owner of a car repair workshop, stating the duration of training, the content of training, training courses outside the training establishment, amount of payment (pocket money), length of holiday, length of working day. In the beginning he is performing only simple operation. Getting more and more experience he takes over more and more responsibility.

The theoretical training could take place in already existing vocational schools (e.g. in Industrial Secondary Schools). The trainee learns the theoretical background of his profession (Technology, Materials, Technical Mathematics, Technical Drawing)

But, even by changing workplaces within the same company, it is particularly in small size enterprises not always possible for trainees to gain practical experiences of the entire spectrum of their intended occupation.

Hence training workshops and training offices have to offer supplementary training independently of current company requirements, to improve the understanding of the logical sequence of technical operations. Supplementary training could be conducted within the 12 Vocational Training Centers in the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Here the boys and girls are trained in a more systematic way. Here they learn how to operate with modern equipment and components which most likely are not available in all workshops.

The dual system of apprenticeship training relies on the technical expertise and the interests of all those involved. Good cooperation and joint responsibilities are the basis for successful planning, execution and further development of training. This cooperation has to been institutionalized at all levels (Company, Governorate, State).

It includes Ministries involved, representatives of the employer (Chambers, Federations), Training Provider und Trade Unions. Under these conditions the dual system in Germany could be a model for a successful training of skilled worker in Palestine which suits the aspirations of young people for a good education and the demand of the economy for trained and competent staff.

To this end, GTZ/TVET Program has started working on this Apprenticeship Scheme in Palestine. The GTZ Apprenticeship Project will start a pilot phase in two fields which are: Tourism and Car Mechanics as from December of the year 2005.