Working Group on Vocational Civic Education

The idea of linking civic and vocational education has a long tradition (Kerschensteiner 1901), yet, during all this time, the mere plausibility of this idea has not sufficed to establish an independent and institutionally secure research area.

It is due to the efforts of perseverant persons like Peter Weinbrenner or Eberhard Jung that, despite unfavorable prerequisites, current research in this field does not need to start from scratch. They have – especially since the 1980s – continuously been working on upcoming questions in this field at the “Hochschultage beruflicher Bildung” (University conference on vocational education) and continued expanding the body of literature.

Recent research projects originated from individual initiatives that stood mainly independently of each other The working group within the GPJE (date of founding: March 13, 2017) now opens the possibility of pooling formerly unrelated research initiatives, establishing a steady exchange. Given that approximately ¾ of a year’s students attend a vocational secondary school, it seems appropriate and worthwhile to make this field of civic education more visible and to identify its potentials.

The peculiarities and problems of this field shall be illustrated by the following conflicting areas (Besand 2014, p. 203ff.):

  • The significance of the subject in everyday school life is prominently underlined and institutionally secured by the federal constitutions (mandatory subject), but given the predominance of the vocational subjects with their underlying interests (economy, commercial courts), it is not adequately represented in everyday school life.
  • The students’ great heterogeneity requires teachers to develop a high level of professionalism to properly respond to their needs. Often, this is not adequately supported by teacher training (frequently, teachers have to teach subjects they did not study at university).

The annual conference of the GPJE and the biennial “Symposium Civic and Economic Education” at the “University Conference on Vocational Education” serve as pivotal elements of connection, exchange and cooperation within the working group. These forums function as opportunities to present and discuss current works and projects


Dr. Martin Kenner
Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft
Abt. Berufs- und Wirtschafts- und Technikpädagogik (BWT)
Universität Stuttgart,
Geschw.-Scholl-Str. 24D, D-70174 Stuttgart
Phone: (+49)711 685 83187


Prof. Dr. Anja Besand
Professur für Didaktik der politischen Bildung
Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Technische Universität Dresden
Gerberbau Bergstraße 53, D-01062 Dresden
Phone: (+49)351 46335050
Secretary: (+49)351 463 35827