Jörg Markowitsch holds a Doctoral Degree in Humanities and a Master’s degree in Science and Technology in addition to being a Senior Partner at 3s Management Consulting, which he founded in 2001. He is an experienced team leader in national and EU-funded research and development projects in the area of education and labour markets, as well as a policy advisor for senior officials and policy makers on the national and EU-level. He is a member of several EU expert and working groups and various international research associations. His areas of research include among others: comparative VET research, European educational policy, firm-based training, acquisition of competences, skill taxonomies, and skills forecasting. Currently, he is the coordinator of the Cedefop project ‘The changing nature and role of VET in Europe’. The project will, over a 3-year period, analyse how vocationally oriented education and training has developed and changed in the last two decades (1995–2015).
Benefits of hybrid systems and double-qualifications – the case of Austria
Austria’s education system is repeatedly criticised by the OECD and others for its early tracking and low number of higher education graduates. Early tracking is said to perpetuate social inequality and the low rate of academics to impede innovation and growth. However, recent research shows that countries with a dual system (like Austria and Germany), which combines the relative parity of esteem between academic and vocational tracks with a high degree of standardisation in the programme and curricula at upper-secondary level, are relatively good at mitigating later inequality in terms of skills. In addition, the low rate of academics is not a particular concern for the majority of Austrian employers. There is a common cause for this situation in Austria, which is not the dual VET system as many observers believe, but the particular ‘hybrid’ between a dual system and a strong school-based VET system in the form of technical and vocational colleges. People graduate from these colleges with a double qualification: a school-leaving certificate provides general access to university and a diploma qualifies graduates for jobs for which they also compete with academics. The presentation will discuss hybridisation and double-qualifications as potential success factors for attractive vocational education.