Dual studies in university higher education

Titelblatt-Dikussionbeitrag_Estudios dualesAuthors: Karsten Krüger & Alba Molas & Laureano Jiménez
Year: 2019
Abstract: One of the major expressions of this structural change is the curricular reform towards a three-cycle structure (the so-called Bologna Process) that has been implemented in European countries. One of the objectives was the higher labour orientation at the bachelor, contributing to a increase the employability of graduates, which implies a more pronounced vocational orientation. This trend is reflected in the creation of specific higher education programmes with long periods spent at the work place, such as dual studies (e.g., Germany and Austria), alternating programmes (France, ‘Alternance Programmes’), or industrial doctorates/masters programmes (Spain). In recent years, efforts to develop and implement dual studies in higher education have intensified, as shown by the cases of England, Scotland and the Basque Country (Spain).
This article will discuss the question whether the university is prepared to create dual study programs and implement them by asking:
a) Which is the role of the academic tutor and the professional mentor in companies, the two key figures to guarantee the quality of dual studies.
b) Which are the difficulties in developing dual programmes within the framework of official degrees.
These issues are addressed through work carried out in two projects of the European programme Erasmus+. After the short definition of what is understood as dual studies, we emphasize the role of academic tutor and professional mentor to exemplify the increasing complexity of managing such programmes ensuring high quality of learning and we summarise the possibilities to extend dual studies in the Spanish university system, using the experience obtained from the strategy for dual studies in the Basque Country.