Expand success in recognition
Experts met in Berlin to discuss successes and challenges
“The recognition of foreign professional and vocational qualifications in Germany has undergone a positive development over the past two years. This is a trend that is set to continue", explains Friedrich Hubert Esser, President of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB). Initial official statistics show that most applications meet with a positive response and that information and advisory services are being very well received. “The Internet site ‘Recognition in Germany’ has recorded more than a million visitors since the Recognition Act entered into force two years ago”, emphasised Professor Esser.
The significance of the information and advisory structures was also confirmed by those attending a special conference staged in Berlin on 28 April 2014 and entitled “Two years of the Recognition Act – conclusions and forecast”. More than 200 experts from recognition practice accepted an invitation from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to discuss the experiences and challenges of the implementation of the new statutory provisions.
The initial results from the BIBB project “Monitoring the implementation of the Recognition Act as a contribution to quality assurance” formed an important basis for the debate. These results have been published in a report from the Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) adopted by the Federal Cabinet on 2 April.
The report states that the recognition procedures and support structures have become established and are being very well used. In order to be able to take full advantage in future of this new instrument for the securing of a supply of skilled workers, the authors indicate various areas where the need for action has been identified. These include a reduction in the number of hurdles facing applicants. “The report reveals that a recognition procedure is in many cases associated with considerable expenditure of time and money”, commented BIBB President Esser. It also makes it clear that the competent bodies should make full use of the scope available to them for further simplification of the procedures in order to implement the law even more successfully. In the case of doctors and in the field of healthcare and nursing, for example, very different recognition practices still apply depending on federal state.
Esser recommends that companies make even greater use of professional and vocational qualifications acquired abroad in order to secure their skilled worker requirements. This also included “a closer examination of whether their own workforce contained untapped potential which can be further expanded by precisely tailored company-based training”. This was an area in which companies could expect to receive competent advice and support from the chambers.
A further conclusion both of the report and of the conference in Berlin was that the support needs of those seeking recognition as well as the competent bodies and continuing training providers have to be identified on an ongoing basis, that suitable instruments have to be developed and that information provision has to be expanded.
The “Law to improve the assessment and recognition of professional and vocational education and training qualifications acquired abroad”, referred to in abbreviated form as the Recognition Act, has been facilitating and improving the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in occupations for which the Federal Government is responsible since 1 April 2012.
The BIBB project “Monitoring the implementation of the Recognition Act as a contribution to quality assurance” was commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is making a major contribution to fostering continuous dialogue between all participants from the fields of academic research, policy and practice by observing the implementation of the law and its support processes.
BIBB provides information on the results of the analyses via annual reporting. The statutorily required evaluation research is also prepared at BIBB.
More information on BIBB recognition monitoring