LIFELONG LEARNING FOR VOCATIONAL QUALIFIED PEOPLE – A NEW CHALLENGE FOR GERMANY’S HIGHER EDUCATION

D. Brückner

FernUniversität in Hagen (GERMANY)
In Germany, the system of vocational education and training (VET) and the Higher Education (HE) are strictly separated for more than hundred years. The changing mainstream started fifteen years ago and ended with the decision of Standing Conference of the State Ministers of Education in 2009. From there on the HE was opened up for vocationally qualified individuals without “Abitur” (German A-level degree).

Almost approx. 50,000 of these non-traditional students are enrolled at the universities and a a large part of nearly one quarter of these students with a vocational qualification are enrolled at the University of Hagen. But professionally qualified people need not only formal access, but also a change in university culture (inter alia - appropriate didactics). Due to this, the university started a project concerning the introductory phase of study. The aim is to facilitate the transition in the academic world, which is quite different from the world of work.

The following didactical guidelines should be reflected into the domain specific courses of the departments who are taking part in the project:
• Increasing self-efficacy
• Choosing teaching methods for diverse learners
• Building bridges in the professional culture
• Considering professional experience of non-traditional students
• Flexibility in terms of time and coursework

Considering these guidelines would make a contribution to open universities for non-traditional students and encourage a new opportunity of lifelong learning.