In late 2019, amendments were made to the Laws of Ukraine “On Education”, “On Higher Education”, which established a new institutional form of education – dual. Dual education refers to a mode of studies that combines studying in educational institutions with parallel practical work placements at enterprises, institutions and organizations to acquire a certain qualification from 25 percent to 60 percent of the total educational program.
Dual form of education has proven successful and has been practicing, for example, in Germany for more than fifty years, and training in this country takes place in more than three hundred occupations. The advantages of such system of training are that the student has the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge almost immediately in practice. As they say, theory without practice is dead. The dual form of studying allows following this rule. As a young specialist should know and be able to do in his workplace exactly what he is required by the employer as a result of such training. It should be noted that in Germany, training in this form of education is not only for the so-called working professions, but for “white-collar workers” – civil servants for various departments, in particular, for the tax and customs authorities of this country. Of course, Germany is not the only example. In one form or another, dual studying is in the educational process of many leading countries.
In general, there are three main models that correspond to the way of management and regulation of dual education in different countries: market (UK), cooperative (Denmark) and the model with strong government regulation (France). Such education can be quite effective not only for learning per se, but for accelerating economic growth, however, this requires a long-term strategy and understanding global development priorities at the state level. Few people know, but in many respects the South Korean economic miracle became possible, including through the use of dual education in the process of forming the human capital of the economy. To finance dual education, an additional targeted fee from corporations was introduced into the country’s public finance system. The whole world clearly sees the result of such state policy, especially in comparison with North Korea.
It is equally important for the state and taxpayers where the money comes from and how efficiently it is spent. For example, in Germany, the state finances the training of exactly as many specialists as the tax and customs authorities need at the expense of taxpayers, taking into account the forecast movement of their staff, so-called, for natural reasons (retirement, maternity leave, dismissal, projected changes structures of the controlling body, etc.). In other words, not a single euro of German taxpayers’ money will be spent on training a specialist who will not work in his/her specialty. You may study for whoever you want at your own expense! Whether you need it or not in life is your personal business.
The implementation of dual education can solve such an important world problem for any economy as skills mismatch. After all, it is no secret that today there is an approach to education, which was widespread in the last century and is characterized by the standardization of education, centralized management of education and the labor market.
Experts note that, for example, in 2016 in OECD countries, the potential total loss of GDP amounted to USD 5 trillion due to the existence of a qualification gap, that is the mismatch of employee competencies to the position.
A study in Ukraine on the compliance of professional qualities formed in the learning process with the needs of the labor market showed a high level of mismatches between what is taught in high school and what labor market needs. Today Ukraine has one of the highest indicators of over-skilled workforce on formal grounds and, at the same time, insufficient level of competencies at the professional level. One of the main disappointing findings of this study is that “a high level of formal education is not transformed into a high level of modern knowledge and practical skills, and national companies do not adjust their demands in the labor market to make better use of formal skills”.
Recently, on June 30, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the volume of the state order for the training of specialists, scientific, scientific-pedagogical and working personnel, as well as for advanced training and retraining in 2021. To secure the state order for 2021, the Government allocated UAH 42.5 billion of taxpayers, or slightly less than 1% of GDP. On the one hand, given the current trends of growth in investment in human capital, economic development, etc., this is a little. But, on the other hand, most people will probably agree with me that employment of a young specialist with higher education today is more of an exception than a regularity. This means that even the insignificant funds that the state spends on training new staff for our economy are spent inefficiently. Given the processes of external labor migration, especially among young people, the problem is particularly acute. When asked why to train young people at the expense of domestic taxpayers, who will then go to work in Europe, no one has an answer and there can not be an answer.
Another study to assess the challenges and prospects for further implementation and scaling of the dual form of training in Ukraine showed that the main advantages for students are that through the mix of practical and theory-based learning, trainees acquire skills that tend to be well matched to the needs of employers and can be plugged into businesses with relative ease, and practice, in turn, encourages to a deeper study of the theory. With this approach, theoretical courses should be immediately adapted to the requirements of the employer, who also can and should participate in their development. Under such conditions, students have the opportunity not only to gain their first work experience, but also to realize what the chosen profession is “from within”, which in the best world HR practice is called professional awareness. Employers who dare to join such programs will be forced to create a system of training and retraining of personnel in which they are interested, according to modern world standards, to introduce the institution of mentoring.
In conclusion, it should be noted that young people and employers already have a request for the priority of the essence over the form, real knowledge over the “papers” that certify your educational level. That is why the main challenge for national universities is that they should not care about the employment of teachers, but about the employment of students! This is a completely different coordinate system, if you will the philosophy and ideology of the development of the educational institution. Who will be able to rebuild will be in the lead.
Therefore, dual education allows solving, at first glance, quite diverse socio-economic problems, which allows, as it is fashionable now to say, achieving a synergistic effect! However, if in most cases such metaphor is used for pathos, then in this case it is definitely not an exaggeration. After all, dual education allows creating new jobs, saving taxpayers’ money, changing the labor market, if necessary, the civil service, helping to reform education, and most importantly, creating the conditions, motivating young people to study and work not abroad but in their country. This homework, which was set by the President of Ukraine a couple of years ago in his inaugural speech, still remains unfulfilled!
Expert of the Growford Institute, Professor, Doctor of Economics. Kostiantyn Shvabi i for LB.ua.