The „quality concept“ in the vocational education
(Der “Qualitätsbegriff” in der beruflichen Bildung/ Horst Mirbach)(AG BFN Workshop 26./27. Februar 2007 BIBB Bonn)
The article deals with the quality concept. It points out that there is no clear definition of the concept and also not of the quality factors and indicators. Despite this fact a lively “quality” discussion is going on. In this discussion the success, contents and goals of the vocational and educational policy are discussed about, as well as about the quality of individual fields and elements of the general and vocational education.
Quality in a neutral form means the consistence or character of an object, but in Germany it is generally used in a judgmental way in the sense of the excellence (Güte) of it. However, a statement of the excellence always means a comparison of the object with a reference value, which describes the ideal. Thus the question about quality in the frame of the vocational education always means to define what an ideal education should look like, which goals are to be reached.
The highest quality goal in the vocational education according to § 1 clause 3 of the Vocational Training Act is to achieve the vocational capacity to act of the citizens, i.e. the ability to perform an occupation in a changing work environment. The conditions for this are basically stated by the working world.
The more the object contributes to achieve the set goal the higher is the excellence (Güte) of it, i.e. the higher is its quality. The degree of quality thus expresses the extent to which the goals have been met.
The author concludes that our actions should be based on the following five guiding ideas:
- We should be aware of which “quality” understanding we are using
- We should use as selective concepts as possible, such as consistence (Beschaffenheit), character (Eigenschaft), excellence (Güte) and so on.
- We should make clear which evaluation benchmarks are being used
- We should check that the evaluation benchmarks used are legal according to the Vocational Training Act
- We should consider the hierarchy of the evaluation benchmarks
Our activities should be in accordance with the scientific ethics, which demands for a reproducibility of the research results and therefore demands for a publication of the used methods and of the results in a way that allows for a reexamination of the results.
Moreover there exists a binding statutory framework in Germany for the vocational education. It binds the whole public field within the State and the Federal States, its function owners and all acting on behalf of the public field, i.e. also the evaluators. The laws meant here are the German Basic Law, article 12, clause 1 (Art. 12 Abs. 1 GG) and Vocational Training Act (BBiG), § 1, clause 2-5.
Long version: to be added soon