Based on the model of Europe’s most famous and most successful dual education systems, implemented in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, Serbia was the first country in the region to adopt its Law on Dual Education in 2017, the full implementation of which began on 1st September 2019
The development of dual education in our country has prompted a need for the formal education system to be adapted to the personnel needs of the economy. Following the completion of their education under the dual model, students can either gain employment with an employer or launch their own business, while they also have the qualifications required to continue their education.
If dual education in Serbia had a tradition dating back 100-200 years, like Germany, we could boast of the fact that more than 80 per cent of the students of three-year dual education programmes find a job with the employer with whom they had their internship. Approximately 25 per cent of German interns earn the right to enrol in university, but they opt instead for an internship, while in Switzerland, for example, the dual education system includes 128 education profiles, each of which is led by a different company.
Serbia is neither Germany, nor Switzerland, nor Austria, which also has a great dual education system, so it cannot boast of such impressive results, but nor are our figures negligible.
LEARNING BOTH AT SCHOOL AND WITH AN EMPLOYER
In the period of just five years, which is how long dual education has been in the focus of Serbia’s education system, we’ve reached a total of 54 dual educational profiles, 10,000 pupils enrolled in dual programmes, 150 schools and 900 companies engaged in the dual education system, while in the meantime an additional step has been taken, such that today three colleges and five academies of vocational studies are implementing 26 study programmes under the dual model.
By definition, secondary dual education is a model of teaching under the system of secondary vocational education and training in which the curriculum is implemented in both a school and a company, under the guidance of the employer. It thus ensures that students acquire knowhow, abilities, skills and attitudes, through theoretical classes and exercises in school, but also through learning on the job in a company.
“The dual education system ensures a more effective response from the education system to the needs of the economy and labour market, technological change and the need for new competencies, knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes,” say representatives of the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.
For this academic year, 30 per cent of the companies that registered are new, while the offer for the dual model will also include nine new educational profiles
LISTENING CAREFULLY TO THE NEEDS OF THE LABOUR MARKET
Such an education model enables the acquiring, advancing and developing of competencies in accordance with the needs of the labour market, post-graduation employment, the development of entrepreneurship, the innovative and creative abilities of each individual, but also strengthening the economy’s competitiveness. The most important advantage of this education model is in the quality of knowledge and skills that students acquire, but also the opportunity to gain employment at companies based in their area.
“For this 2022/2023 academic year, 30 per cent of the companies that registered are new, while the offer for the dual model will include nine new educational profiles: telecommunications electrical technician, agricultural machinery operator, culinary technician, hotel and restaurant technician, tourist technician, plumber, industrial robotics technician, haberdasher and chemical products manufacturer,” explains a spokesperson of Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia.
Depending on the educational profile selected, the pupil can start visting the company to learn through work already in the first year of studies. They acquire knowhow that’s practical and applicable, in a real work environment, from the very beginning of their schooling, while upon completion of their schooling the student can gain employment with an employer, launch their own business or continue their education.
STUDENTS FIND WORK FASTER AND EASIER
The dual model of higher education studies, which began being implemented in Serbia with the first study programmes of October 2021, contributes to increasing higher education’s relevance, enabling graduates to secure employment faster and easier, and modernising teaching processes through cooperation with businesses and contact with modern technologies. With the introduction of the dual model of study, the aim is to provide students with the opportunity to significantly increase their labour market competitiveness and job opportunities with the employers that hosted their work placement learning, but also with other employers operating in the same field.
Higher education institutions may organise programmes of academic or vocational studies according to a dual model, through which knowhow, skills, abilities and attitudes are acquired, improved and developed in accordance with the study programme and qualification standard, through active teaching at a higher education institution and practical training and work with an employer.
Three colleges and five academies of vocational studies are today implementing 26 study programmes under the dual model
The dual model of study makes learning through work an integral part of the programme, in accordance with a dual model of study that carries a number of ECTS [European Credit Transfer System] points and represents an organised process during which students, working under the supervision of company mentors, apply theoretical knowledge in a real work environment, have direct contact with business procedures and technologies used in the business world, connect with employed professionals and prepare for the world of work.
The dual education system at the level of secondary and higher education, which is regulated by the Law on Dual Education and the Law on Dual Model of Studies in Higher Education, contributes to improving human resources capital, which will further ensure the easier and faster integration of high school and university students into the world of work. Dual education is also developed in accordance with the Master Plan for the Implementation of the Law on Dual Education.
It is also worth noting that donor and partnership support for the establishment and development of Serbia’s National Model of Dual Education was provided by German development agency GIZ, under the scope of its DECIDE project and the project “Reform of Secondary Vocational Education in Serbia”; the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), under the auspices of the project “Support for the development and establishment of the National Model of Dual Education”, and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
WE’RE INVESTING IN AVIATION CENTRES
“Confirmation of the loan agreement with the Council of Europe Development Bank will enable the reconstruction and equipping of two centres – one in Belgrade and the other in Vršac – to cater for the needs of aviation education in Serbia under the dual education model,” announced Serbian Education, Science and Technological Development Minister Branko Ružić.
This investment will enable us to create additional conditions for the education of aviation personnel in Serbia and the region, while helping to secure careers for future pilots, flight controllers and other related occupations, noted Ružić.