Bern, 21.11.2023 – Representatives of the Confederation, cantons and social partners have paved the way for the development of a consultation draft to strengthen higher vocational education and training by protecting the designation “Höhere Fachschule” and introducing the title supplements “Professional Bachelor” and “Professional Master”. This decision was the focus of the annual VET top-level meeting on November 20, 2023.
In recent years, there have been intensive discussions about how the universities of applied sciences and higher vocational education and training as a whole can be strengthened. Following the 2022 summit meeting, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI worked with the partners in the network and the relevant stakeholders on the vocational education and training and higher education sides to define a package of measures. After examining various options, there is now a proposal for the implementation of the title additions “Professional Bachelor” and “Professional Master” as well as the protection of the designation “Höhere Fachschule HF”. Accordingly, HF diplomas and federal professional examinations should be given the title supplement “Professional Bachelor” and federal higher professional examinations the title supplement “Professional Master”. These title additions signal the tertiary nature of the qualifications and contribute to the recognition of higher vocational education and training in the public eye. However, the title additions do not change the applicable rules for admission to university studies, for the recognition of educational achievements, etc.
In addition to strengthening the qualifications, the universities of applied sciences should also become more visible as institutions. A designation right is to be enshrined in law so that only providers of HF courses can call themselves “Höhere Fachschule HF” in future. The title additions and the designation law require a partial revision of the Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act. As part of the revision, other topics in the area of higher vocational education and training are also being examined, including the possibility of conducting federal examinations in English and digitally in a decentralized manner. A consultation on the revision of the law is to be carried out in the third quarter of 2024 at the latest. Parliamentary deliberations could then follow in 2025. The aim is for the measures to come into force by the beginning of 2026 at the latest.
As a further agenda item, the participants of the national top-level meeting took note of the status of work on the “Vocational qualifications for adults” commitment. The Confederation, cantons and social partners have agreed to further improve the framework conditions so that adults can obtain more vocational qualifications and thus better protect themselves against unemployment and precarious employment. In Switzerland, around 66,000 VET qualifications are obtained each year, around 11,000 of them by adults over the age of 25. Ongoing measures include an overview of the recognition of foreign qualifications.
The participants of the top-level meeting also took note of the final report on the “Optimization of processes and incentives in vocational education and training” project. In recent months, the partners in the alliance have, among other things, intensively examined the process of professional development and commissioned a study on the financial flows and mechanisms of inter-company courses (ÜK). The findings are now being further processed in existing and new committees. The Tripartite Vocational Training Conference TBBK monitors developments and can initiate new projects as required.
Representatives of the Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK), the Swiss Conference of Vocational and Professional Education and Training Offices (SBBK), the Swiss Employers’ Association (SAV), the Swiss Confederation of Skilled Crafts (sgv), the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB), Travail.Suisse and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) took part in the national top-level meeting on vocational education and training chaired by Education Minister Guy Parmelin.