Working Group on Vocational Civic Education


Political Education in Vocational Schools: Update and Perspectives

bpb/KMK Symposium, 2nd December 2019, Representation of the Hessian State, Berlin

This year’s annual sym­po­sium by bpb and KMK focu­sed on poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion in voca­tio­nal schools. Start­ing points iden­ti­fied in “Moni­tor beruf­li­che Bil­dung” (Besand 2014) com­po­sed the ori­gin and the­ma­tic foun­da­tion of the sym­po­sium. These start­ing points were (amongst others):

  • focus of cen­tral finals and frameworks
  • per­spec­ti­ves on didac­tic con­cep­tion of voca­tio­nal civic education
  • per­spec­ti­ves on edu­ca­tion and trai­ning of tea­chers of voca­tio­nal civic education
  • hete­ro­gen­eity of lear­ners as chall­enge in voca­tio­nal schools
  • the importance of poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion in voca­tio­nal schools in the face of anti-demo­cra­tic ten­den­cies and poli­ti­cal polarisation

There was cri­ti­cal reapp­rai­sal and exami­na­tion in form of key­notes, podi­ums and working groups, wit­hout losing a rea­li­stic opti­mism to look ahead. As regards con­tent, the working group “Work-rela­ted poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion” con­tri­bu­ted sub­stan­ti­ally with input to the symposium.

For more infor­ma­tion please visit:


Symposium Politics at “Hochschultage Berufliche Bildung 2019”

The 20th “uni­ver­sity- days of voca­tio­nal civic edu­ca­tion” 2019 in Sie­gen (Ger­many) focu­sed on “digi­ta­li­sa­tion”. As part of this event the working group “Work-rela­ted poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion” hos­ted a sym­po­sium from 12th - 13th March 2019 on “poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion in voca­tio­nal schools in con­text of a digi­ta­li­sed working world”.

For more infor­ma­tion please visit:

The working group „Work-rela­ted poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion“ was foun­ded within the frame­work of the 19th Hoch­schul­tage Beruf­li­che Bil­dung fol­lo­wing the sym­po­sium „Poli­tics and eco­no­mics“ on March 13th. Bet­ween the 10th and 12th Octo­ber 2018 the kick-off con­fe­rence of the working group took place at the Georg-August Uni­ver­sity of Göt­tin­gen, during which the fun­da­men­tal ori­en­ta­tion, com­mon goals and posi­ti­ons as well as the fur­ther steps of the working group were dis­cus­sed. The annual mee­ting of the GPJE as well as the bien­nial sym­po­sium „Poli­tics and eco­no­mics“ during the Uni­ver­sity Days Voca­tio­nal Edu­ca­tion act as a struc­tu­ral frame­work for the pur­pose of estab­li­shing cont­act, com­mu­ni­ca­tion as well as coope­ra­tion. These forums should par­ti­cu­larly serve as an intro­duc­tion and dis­cus­sion of run­ning pro­jects and works.

Work-rela­ted poli­ti­cal education

Mea­su­red by the num­bers of stu­dents, voca­tio­nal schools are the lar­gest school of fur­ther edu­ca­tion in Ger­many. The sub­ject Poli­tics, Eco­no­mics, Social or Com­mu­nity stu­dies, which is sum­ma­ri­zed as „Poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion“ in the fol­lo­wing, is tra­di­tio­nally of high importance with in these types of schools, which has not been ques­tio­ned yet. Poli­tics is the only gene­rally edu­ca­ting sub­ject, embedded insti­tu­tio­nally in all dual voca­tio­nal cour­ses through the final exam „Eco­no­mics and Social stu­dies“. In addi­tion, the edu­ca­tion-theo­re­ti­cal inter­lin­king of poli­ti­cal and voca­tio­nal edu­ca­tion (Ker­schen­stei­ner 1901) has a long history. But solely the plau­si­bi­lity of such a con­nec­tion has not pro­ven suf­fi­ci­ent which is why rese­arch in poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion and poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tio­nal pro­ces­ses at voca­tio­nal schools is very sel­dom. Only thanks to some tire­less indi­vi­du­als, such as Peter Wein­bren­ner or Eber­hard Jung, who had con­ti­nuously addres­sed ari­sing ques­ti­ons of this edu­ca­tion area and expan­ded the stock of lite­ra­ture via the sym­po­si­ums of the Uni­ver­sity Days Voca­tio­nal Edu­ca­tion in the 1980s and 1990s, the working group can rely on a pro­fes­sio­nal base.

Rese­arch per­spec­tive: More recent rese­arch has mostly assu­med inde­pen­dent pro­ject initia­ti­ves, which hardly refer­red to each other. That is why the working group pur­sued the crea­tion of a lar­ger cohe­rence of rese­arch work con­cer­ning work-rela­ted poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion in order to make the edu­ca­tion more visi­ble. For this pur­pose, it is focu­sed on the fol­lo­wing aspects:

  • a cont­ent­wise poo­ling and coor­di­na­tion of rese­arch ques­ti­ons in order to be able to deve­lop focal points of the field
  • a coope­ra­tion bet­ween dif­fe­rent loca­ti­ons to dis­cuss regio­nal aspects and per­spec­tive in a com­pa­ring manner
  • a sys­te­ma­tic pro­ces­sing of alre­ady exis­ting theo­re­ti­cal approa­ches, con­cepts and findings
  • con­cen­t­ra­ting the taught rese­arch metho­di­cal as well as les­son-prac­ti­cal exper­tise at the loca­ti­ons in order to make them visi­ble to third par­ties (e.g. les­son coverage, Grammes)
  • crea­ting a rese­arch base for chal­lenges of poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion within the working world and voca­tio­nal education

Fur­ther, for a con­ten­tual design, it seems neces­sary to con­sider if poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion at voca­tio­nal schools requi­res other rela­ted sci­en­ces than the ones alre­ady known from gene­ral edu­ca­tion schools. A broa­de­ning of per­spec­tive could help with respect to rele­vant rela­ted sci­en­ces to spe­cify the essence of the subject.

Hig­her edu­ca­tio­nal didac­tic per­spec­tive: Due to the high num­ber of stu­dents at voca­tio­nal schools, a high num­ber of well-trai­ned poli­tics tea­chers is requi­red.  As a con­se­quence, the working group „Work-rela­ted poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion“ empha­si­zes insis­t­ently that pro­fes­sors need to attri­bute more signi­fi­cance to the poli­ti­cal-didac­tic edu­ca­tion of stu­dent tea­chers for the pro­fes­sio­nal posi­tion of a tea­cher. Regar­ding this, first con­side­ra­ti­ons are:

  • The field of ten­sion „pro­fes­sion-working world-poli­tics“ should be the­ma­ti­zed con­sis­t­ently within the tea­cher trai­ning, imple­men­ted (as a course) and spe­ci­fied (socio­sci­en­ti­fi­cally).
  • On an aca­de­mic level, a meaningful inter­lin­king bet­ween poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion and the trai­ning pro­fes­sion can be mana­ged through semi­nar papers and final exams, in which pro­fes­sio­nal or working world rela­ted requi­re­ments and issues are addres­sed from a socio­sci­en­ti­fic perspective.
  • Alt­hough a sys­te­ma­tic and com­pa­ra­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of loca­tion-spe­ci­fic cur­ri­cula did not occur during the kick-off con­fe­rence, it became clear within the dis­cus­sions and pre­sen­ta­ti­ons that a field-spe­ci­fic prac­ti­cal refe­rence (poli­ti­cal edu­ca­tion at voca­tio­nal schools) is highly rele­vant for the lear­ning group (beco­ming voca­tio­nal school teachers).

Con­fe­rence documentation

The kick-off con­fe­rence of the working group took place from the 10th to 12th Octo­ber 2018 at the Georg August Uni­ver­sity Göttingen.


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

Chris­tine Barp
Zen­trum für Arbeit und Poli­tik (zap)
Zen­trum für die Didak­ti­ken der Sozi­al­wis­sen­schaf­ten (ZeDis)
Uni­ver­si­tät Bremen
Cel­si­us­straße 2,
D‑28359 Bremen
Phone: (+49)421 218 56709


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