Cooperative Dual Study Program
Cooperative Education has a long and successful global history in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). The concept of cooperative study programs was first introduced at the University of Cincinnati in 1906, since then replicated in numerous universities and colleges throughout the US and Canada and adapted in 1974 for German Higher Education in the form of “Dual Study Programs” in Baden-Wuerttemberg (www.dhbw.de). The German concept is most successful in technical and business programs, but also applied to health and social sciences and is typically offered either by specialized institutions or by Universities of Applied Sciences. On the global level, the World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE – https://www.waceinc.org/) aims at joining all HEI offering work integrated education and at advancing the underlying pedagogy, research and inter-institutional cooperation.
Cooperative dual study programs are essentially a reaction to two challenges: How to raise employability of university graduates and how to provide the labor market with qualified employees who possess sound skills in practice and theory. In these programs, academic and vocational training are integrated and take place at two locations: A university and a company. Content of the academic part is exactly the same concerning the level and quality of the taught courses and roughly the same concerning the quantity of academic courses. In addition, work in a partner company is part of the programs. What they do there is aligned with their academic studies – students apply their knowledge right away and become familiar with the real life work environment already during the study program.