The Shifting Relationship between Vocational and Higher Education in France and Germany: towards convergence?

Authors

  • Justin J. W. Powell,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Unit ‘Skill Formation & Labor Markets’, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, D-10785 Berlin, Germany
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  • Lukas Graf,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Unit ‘Skill Formation & Labor Markets’, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, D-10785 Berlin, Germany
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  • Nadine Bernhard,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Unit ‘Skill Formation & Labor Markets’, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, D-10785 Berlin, Germany
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  • Laurence Coutrot,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre Maurice Halbwachs, École normale supérieure (ENS), 48 Bd Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France
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  • Annick Kieffer

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre Maurice Halbwachs, École normale supérieure (ENS), 48 Bd Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France
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Justin J.W. Powell, Research Unit ‘Skill Formation & Labor Markets’, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, D-10785 Berlin, Germany, powell@wzb.eu

Lukas Graf, Research Unit ‘Skill Formation & Labor Markets’, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, D-10785 Berlin, Germany, graf@wzb.eu

Nadine Bernhard, Research Unit ‘Skill Formation & Labor Markets’, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Reichpietschufer 50, D-10785 Berlin, Germany, bernhard@wzb.eu

Laurence Coutrot, Centre Maurice Halbwachs, École normale supérieure (ENS), 48 Bd Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France, laurence.coutrot@ens.fr

Annick Kieffer, Centre Maurice Halbwachs, École normale supérieure (ENS), 48 Bd Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France, annick.kieffer@ens.fr

Abstract

In Europe, the Bologna and Copenhagen Processes in higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET) are on the agenda, aiming to create a European educational area. Acknowledging important differences between countries, we compare the evolving relationship between HE and VET. We ask whether and how these two distinct organisational fields in France and Germany have changed in recent decades. Comparing institutional shifts, the article analyses whether long-standing differences in postsecondary education and training systems and the education/economy nexus in these two countries have remained stable. We argue that these countries’ skill formation systems have begun to converge, departing from their original institutionalisation paths. Thus, while the traditional typologies that contrast France and Germany have served as useful heuristic devices, they require revision to adequately represent incremental institutional change in these skill formation systems resulting from endogenous reforms and exogenous pressures due to Europeanisation.

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