Amendment of the Vocational Training Act: HRK President warns of confusion over terms

22. May 2019

The President of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), Prof Dr Peter-André Alt, said the following after the Federal Cabinet adopted the draft amendment to the Vocational Training Act today:

"The new terms for vocational qualifications set out in the amendment ought to be revised. Changing the designations from ‘Berufsbachelor’ (as previously suggested by the Ministry of Education and Research) to 'Bachelor Professional' (as currently set out in the draft), or from 'Berufsmaster' to 'Master Professional' does nothing to reduce the confusion caused, even if they are intended as 'additional designations'. This is also a republication of recommendations that have not been implemented years ago – and for good reason.

Just yesterday, the HRK General Assembly once again warned against instigating confusion and a lack of transparency in the education system. The use of qualification designations in vocational training, which in Europe are awarded exclusively by universities, would also be a source of completely unnecessary misunderstanding in an international context.

The good intention of highlighting and strengthening the value of vocational training would almost be contradicted by the imitation of university qualification designations. Why not further strengthen the unambiguous designations of the internationally recognised vocational training with their specific skills, such as 'Meister' ["Master Craftsman / Master Craftswoman"], 'Technikerin' ["Technician"] or 'Fachwirt' ["Business Specialist"]?

Young people, employers and the public need unambiguous information that demonstrates the quality and wealth of opportunities provided by all education and career paths. The amendment adopted by the Cabinet therefore needs to be revised in this respect."