Learning at work: Dual Education

Dual education is a system which corrects the permanent discrepancy that exists between centralized education and labor supply, reducing youth unemployment and increasing the productivity of economies.

Monday, June 8, 2015


The use of professional training is the foundation for the success of Germany's productivity, and has been adopted in most European countries, with particular strength in Austria and Switzerland. In Germany it has helped the country to maintain a low rate of youth unemployment and has ensured a supply of technical experts for their companies and from this the competitiveness of the German economy has increased.

In Central America, Costa Rica has technical colleges with practices that are conceptually closer to the European dual system of education, but their enrollment is too small to cover the demand for their quotas, and there is no legal framework conducive to companies hiring the students.

An article on Elfinancierocr.com reports that "... The benefits for those involved are revealed in the statistics. For a company, the model becomes a form of recruitment, and the opportunity to choose candidates who are trained to suit their own needs The study "The talent shortage continues," conducted by the firm Manpower Group revealed that 51% of 620 Costa Rican employers surveyed in 2014 said they had difficulties in obtaining qualified personnel to perform tasks in their companies. The lack of technical skills, the dearth of available and experienced candidates, were the main reasons behind the difficulty finding the manpower required. For their part, young students benefit from a process that opens the door to entering the labor market or at least gaining experience. Guiselle Espinoza, Coordinator with the company's Professional Technical College of Santa Ana, explained that in the process of practices such as those held at the school, about 80% of students manage to get placed in companies positively. "

There is no doubt that employers should be involved in this issue, bringing pressure on governments to advance its implementation, which does not involve devoting more state resources but primarily generating an adequate legal framework for their practice.

See Education and Training: The European Economy's Best Hope

More on this topic

One More Step Towards Dual Education

November 2018

In Costa Rica, the business sector is optimistic about the positive opinion given about the dual education law initiative by the Congress commission in charge of the issue.

On November 15th, the Commission of Science, Technology and Education in the Congress approved the Dual Education Law, which has as one of its main objectives to incorporate students into the labor market.

Costa Rica: A First Step Towards Dual Education

December 2016

The Automotive Mechanics course has been selected to be part of the first pilot plan to implement a dual education system in 2017, in four technical schools in the country.

The Vocational College of Arts and Crafts (Covão) in Cartago as well as the Technical Professional Colleges (CTP in Spanish) Monsignor Sanabria, in Desamparados, Carlos Manuel Vicente in Golfito, and Jesus Ocaña in Alajuela, are the institutions which will be implementing the pilot dual education plan in 2017.

A Big YES to Dual Education From Businesses

July 2016

Seven out of ten entrepreneurs in Costa Rica would be willing to implement training programs for young people in the academic-work placement format.

A statement from the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Enterprises (UCCAEP) notes that   "... 72% of employers would be interested in launching training programs under the dual mode and 83% said they already have accepted into their businesses students or trainees for internships or professional work experience."

Let's Try Dual Education to Combat Youth Unemployment

February 2016

In Central America, the youth unemployment rate is estimated at over 24%, while in Germany, where the dual education is practiced, youth unemployment is 6%.


A visit to Costa Rica by the German Education Minister has put back on the table the concept of dual education, an education method where time is shared between the traditional classroom and work as an apprentice in a trade or professional specialty, in a company.

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