Vocational education has a deep basis in German society. It is based on the premise that students – of all ages – should be educated with a view to practicalities. This means that they will be trained to actually do something when they leave the educational institute, as opposed to simply learning theory. Thus it might mean that rather than the students spending most of their days stuck behind their school desks, they will instead be taking lessons in carpentry, cooking, electronics, gardening, etc.
Vocational training is very adaptable. It is not stagnant. With regular, standardized education, there is a set curriculum that doesn’t change all that much. With vocational education, this is far from the case. A wide variety of subjects are offered that are constantly adapting to the changing needs of the working market. In Germany in particular the system used is a balance between work subjects and school subjects as a way of preparing potential apprentices to make a smooth transition into employment.
The idea behind vocational training in schools is that rather than a child sit and learn about the wives of King Henry, if they leave school with a background in fixing water heaters then they are more likely to be a valued member of society.