What’s the Latest Development?
A dual-track system of getting a higher education while working a job is helping Germany keep youthful unemployment at about eight percent, far lower than southern European states like Spain and Greece where twenty-five percent of youth have no work. “Even US President Barack Obama praised the German model in his 2013 State of the Union address: ‘Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job.'”
What’s the Big Idea?
Perhaps the major difference between the German higher education system and the American one is that, in Germany, students are encouraged to work, using their high school diploma to get an apprenticeship, while taking a somewhat lighter course load at college. The all-or-nothing approach to college in America—paying tens of thousands of dollars or sacrificing your education—is increasingly untenable given the structural changes required by today’s market economy. “It’s better to push for courageous structural reform rather than opt for the simpler solution of giving young unemployed people senseless occupational training just to keep them busy—and quiet.”
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