Article (Scientific journals)
Why are Higher Education Participation Rates in Germany so Low? Institutional Barriers to Higher Education Expansion
Powell, Justin J W; Solga, Heike
2011In Journal of Education and Work, 24 (1), p. 49-68
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi


Full Text
Publisher postprint (130.21 kB)

All documents in ORBilu are protected by a user license.

Send to


Keywords :
Europeanisation; Germany; vocational training; educational expansion; higher education; institutional change
Abstract :
[en] Countries around the world have witnessed educational expansion at all levels, leading to the massification of tertiary education and training. Tertiary education has become a major factor of economic competitiveness in an increasingly science‐based global economy and a key response to shifts in national labour markets. Within the EU, the reform of skill formation systems has been advanced by the Lisbon strategy, with the Bologna and Copenhagen processes in higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET) articulating and diffusing overarching goals in European skill formation. If European benchmarks call for at least 40% of all 30‐ to 34‐year‐olds to hold a tertiary‐level certificate, Germany exhibits a relatively low proportion of each cohort entering HE and attaining that qualification level (28%). We analyse this ‘German exceptionalism’, locating a range of factors in the educational system: the institutional logic of segregation, the structure of secondary schooling, the division or schism between the organisational fields of VET and HE, and limited permeability throughout. Regardless of isomorphic pressures that led Germany to quickly implement undergraduate bachelor's (BA) and graduate master's (MA) courses of study, these factors limit the extent of HE expansion visible among other European countries.
Research center :
Disciplines :
Sociology & social sciences
Author, co-author :
Powell, Justin J W  ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Languages, Culture, Media and Identities (LCMI)
Solga, Heike
Language :
Title :
Why are Higher Education Participation Rates in Germany so Low? Institutional Barriers to Higher Education Expansion
Publication date :
Journal title :
Journal of Education and Work
Publisher :
Volume :
Issue :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Name of the research project :
Internationalization of Vocational and Higher Education Systems in Transition (INVEST)
Funders :
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft [DE]
Available on ORBilu :
since 13 August 2013


Number of views
166 (12 by Unilu)
Number of downloads
1921 (10 by Unilu)

Scopus citations®
Scopus citations®
without self-citations


Similar publications

Contact ORBilu