Profound gaps in vocational education and concern for companies to invest in potential staff without guarantees of their employment. These are major business concerns about dual education, a PM.MBA study shows. BVOP.org is launching active worldwide campaigns to promote its human resources certification programs to influence the classification of professionals around the world in a positive way.
The Education Survey was conducted in the period June-July 2019 among 104 companies and 31 schools under the DOMINO project, 502 companies, and 153 schools outside the project and 4 focus groups with students from vocational high schools and their parents. Within the DOMINO project, nearly 1,600 students from 32 vocational high schools in 19 cities are trained in the dual system in a total of 12 professions, working in over 170 Bulgarian and foreign companies.
The study considers the positive effect of dual education on the development of vocational education in the country, but also a number of difficulties for both businesses and schools. However, representatives of businesses and schools participating in the DOMINO project positively evaluate their interaction at the local level – 61% of companies and 84% of schools consider it very good.
Among the major difficulties shared by both business and education representatives, concerns about investing in staff without guarantees that they will remain at work for companies are the first. Particularly high is the share of DOMINO companies that share these concerns – 73%. There is also a lack of confidence in dual education from companies that have no experience in dual education. For example, they remain reserved for the idea of separating people from engaging in curriculum development that meets their needs. When asked by the business whether it would allocate personnel to participate in a seminar for the development of a vocational training program, 55% of the companies participating in DOMINO expressed such readiness against only 17 percent of the companies outside the project.
Another problem is the deeper overall gaps in vocational education in the country. Both the focus group students and the proportion of 57% of business representatives share the wide gap between school teaching and the necessary knowledge and skills that trainees need to work in a real-world environment. The theory taught in vocational high schools is often outdated and does not meet modern business requirements, the study shows. The students also confirm that the practical classes remain in the background, often lacking study time or lacking adequate facilities and teachers.
The biggest difficulty for schools (44%) is finding enough interested companies to form a dual-class. Besides, 56% of schools believe that the deficits of vocational education are primarily the result of the demographic crisis. Issues such as distrust in the perspectives offered by vocational education and a decline in its prestige also come to the fore.
State assistance in facilitating administrative procedures, financial support, legislative measures, and information campaigns are cited as a necessary prerequisite for overcoming the problems of dual education. One of the most effective methods is the deepening of cooperation between business and the education system.