The view of social partners for implementing the dual education system: success, challenges and future

From 20 to 22 September 2019 took place in Ružomberok, Slovakia, a seminar about “The view of social partners for implementing the dual education system: success, challenges and future”, organized by NKOS (Nezávislé krestanské odbory Slovenska), with the support of EZA and of the European Union.

53 representatives of workers’ organizations from Slovakia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Albania, Lithuania and Croatia participated in the seminar.

The most important aspect of the seminar was that the trade unions emphasise the importance of partnerships between schools, training centres, trade unions and the business community. The social partners play a decisive role in all stages of well-functioning dual training systems. Strengthening and making better use of social dialogue at all levels can be an effective instrument to improve the quality and attractiveness of dual training.

The following topic fields were discussed:

-Janka Školova from ŽILINA SELF-GOVERNING REGION (SK), director Department of Education and Sport informed about the implementation of the dual education system in vocational education and training in the conditions of the Žilina self-governing region. During the studies, students receive practical experience with the most attractive employer in the Zilina region. After graduation, the company guarantees a working position to all dual education students.

Discussion panel: Subject: How education and training are changing with Industry 4.0. and digitization. New skills needed for changing jobs.

Speakers: Olga Czapla, European Meeting Centre - NowyStaw Foundation, (PL), Lidmila Nemcová, hKAP (CZ), Aleš Strnad, KOK (CZ), Bardócz-Tódor András (HU)

Olga Czapla, spoke about the current situation in the area of digitalization in specific topics: Dual education of university students. The important cooperation of company and employer, the thesis is build on real scientific problem, student has a chance to improve the way company works, students gets double salary (1 form state and 1 form employer) and employer gets perks form the state.

Bardócz-Tódor András (HU) presented the problem of Hungary: Hungary is selling its heritage on a bowl of lenses because the economy thus the training system is too much built on low-cost workforce, which in the short term results a rapid increase in investment, but does not provide long-term stability as its adaptability to change is low. However, educational policy changing can only be achieved over decades, so there is little chance of a reversal from the wrong direction.

Lidmila Nemcová (CZ) spoke about economical, ethical and social aspects of education for example (work ethics, entrepreneurial and managerial ethics, morality of the teacher, morality of the science, ethical committees and codex’s, climate changes....), which we need to study in themes of society.

Aleš Strnad (CZ) presented current development of dual education in Czech Republic. He recalled OECD recommendations for CZ: Initial and in-service education and training of upper secondary school counsellors focuses more on pedagogical and psychological counselling than on career guidance. School counsellors combine career guidance with teaching other school subjects, and providing guidance for personal problems and study difficulties.

Discussion panel: Subject: How Education and Training Are Changing? Current state of Education in countries of the Balkan region

Speakers: Vikič - Topič Dražen (HR), Zdravkovska Emilija (North Macedonia), Saša Nakov (Serbia) and Pregjaj Enis (Albania)

Vikič - Topič Dražen (HR) spoke about one of the key elements of the VET reform in Croatia. It is a process of establishing the regional centres of competences in VET. The regional centres of competence are places of VET excellence where programmes of regular vocational education, teacher training and lifelong learning will be implemented, as well as other forms of formal and non-formal education (work-based learning, competitions, knowledge and skills presentations, etc.).

Zdravkovska Emilija (North Macedonia) spoke about development of VET in NM. The process of improving the system of continuous in-service teacher training based on determined needs (of teachers, schools, system) and combining online and physical forms of learning has started.

Saša Nakov (Serbia) informed about dual education in Serbia. There is one important difference between the Serbian model and the dual system in the countries of German speaking area: young people in dual education in Serbia are in the status of high school students, and not in the one of employed in companies where their training is carried out, that is, training in the company is realized as “learning through work”, rather than work.

Pregjaj Enis (Albania) informed about VET in Albania. Vocational schools in Albania are strongly supported by foreign donors. Active in this regard are the European Union, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, etc. It was emphasized that the cooperation with the business community is very important in the field of vocational education and training. They have recently launched a range of collaborations, providing internships and employment, as well as qualifications that address market needs in line with human resources qualifications.

Discussion panel: Subject: The dual education system for economic and social development within the European free labour market. Experiences from Erasmus+ project and others

Speakers: Agáta Kubinová member od Board NKOS, Dlholucká Martina member of Board teacher unions of NKOS, Dirgová Eva, teacher of Catholic school in Poprad

Agata Kubinová presented the best practices with projects Erasmus plus in Secondary Industry school of IT: preparing of teachers and preparing of students for practices.

Martina Dlholucka presented the project: Building and improving the technical equipment of vocational teachers and libraries in Rudolf Dilong´s elementary school in Trstena.

Eva Dirgová spoke about the importance of linking technical and human education for the student's personal development.

Discussion panel: Subject: Implementation of dual vocational education and training in Slovakia

Speakers: Ľubica Černá, president of NKOS, Dušová Gabriela, member of teachers unions NKOS.

Ľubica Černá spoke about problems of VET in Slovakia. Companies can become involved in vocational training, taking full responsibility for organising practical, work-based learning. Students are directly prepared at the employer's workplace and gain the practical experience. Cooperation between schools and companies has been in place for several years, using school-based vocational training where practical training was carried out in companies. But the system is still not running as it should, and if the country fails to meet goals, it may be asked to pay back the money allocated from EU coffers.

Subject: Cooperation of secondary vocational schools, employers and self-governing authorities. Public awareness and response – attitudes and dispositions

Meeting with Director of department of education and sport: Ing. Jozef Pažítka. He presented the current situation in VET in Ružomberok region. Employers are dissatisfied with VET graduates’ competences: this is a result of VET being underfinanced and funding mechanisms based on number of learners, not the quality of learning outcomes. Changing young people’s education preferences and broken links between the worlds of work and education also play a role.

Subject: The “Dual Strategy” for Industry 4.0 and digatisation success

Excursion to the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Ružomberok

There were presented practical view for dual educations by students of the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Ružomberok and Hotel academy. We were informed about students practical project and work.

Subject: Promoting young entrepreneurs in rural areas through the creation of economic activities and new workplace in Liptov region. A visit to Vlkolinec, UNESCO heritage

Participants were introduced about new possibility for young entrepreneur in folk restaurant and shop market. The folk restaurant is incubator for students from Hotel academy

Subject: School in nature. Entrepreneurship in Nature - How to learn from a Nature manager

Green entrepreneurship is the concept that implies the respect of the environment and the desire of being environmentally friendly which should be reflected in every decision and in every action. This concept works well, so here are the examples of success stories for your inspiration. The participants were informed about best practices in green entrepreneurship.

In her speech Mária Briganová identified that the main challenge is the (lack of) willingness of the VET schools to participate in the dual system. This is also visible in the imbalance between the amount of the offered apprenticeship places by the employers and the actually filled places. According to current legislation, the VET school’s burden of education is lowered when it enters the dual system, therefore its budget is also lowered. That is not motivating for the schools. Another issue is resistance to change in the education system in general.

Social partners are formally incorporated into VET governance through national, sectoral and regional VET councils. In particular, employer associations and professional chambers perform a range of tasks: first, contributing to decisions on the mix of provision in order to improve labour market matching; second, designing course curricula in order to keep them up-to-date with labour market developments; third, directly participating in the award of vocational qualifications through employer representatives in school-leaving examinations; fourth, assisting in the process of training in company trainers.


The participants identified common problems:

  • orientation of SMEs to secure business, lack of time and resources to tackle training the future workforce.
  • insufficient material and technical equipment of workplaces in relation to the normative material-technical and spatial security
  • especially in small companies need the commitment of its own instructors which means reduced labour productivity and reduced potential annual turnover.
  • currently valid range providing practical training outside their own premises for practical training does not cover the contents to master the basics of the profession, craft etc. SME has no time capacity.
  • insufficiently regulated contractual relations between secondary VET school and the employer in the system of dual education for providing part of practical training outside of premises for practical training in SMEs
  • lack of incentives (financial and non-financial) for the entry of employers into the system of dual education.

They identified common recommendations:

  • to promote work-based learning in all its forms with special attention to apprenticeships, by involving social partners, companies, chambers and VET providers, as well as stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • professional and consulting support in the performance of dual education from the professional organizations and trade unions, in a form of campaigns, visits to vocational schools, clustering in the region
  • the co-operation of stakeholders in the dual VET-system the State Ministries, Employer’s associations and Trade Unions has to be developped