8           HPE: PLACE IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

Higher professional education (1st and 2nd stage) belongs to the higher education sector alongside academic education. It is the alternative route for graduates from secondary education who want to acquire a higher education degree but who do not want to follow science/research driven-education because they are aiming at entering the world of work with a labour market recognized qualification and within a surveyable term.

8.1. ďAlongside academic educationĒ implies that the relation between higher academic education (hae) and higher professional education (hpe) must be clarified. In the education system there should be a possibility for students to switch from hae to hpe and vice versa. In some countries the transfer of students from one type of higher education to another is based upon an assessment of the studentís competence by the receiving establishment. After that the decision is made under which conditions the applicant can enter. This decision making process will be considerably streamlined if both types of higher education have implemented correlating credit-point systems.

Transfer-criteria can be laid down either by gentlemenís agreements between the establishments concerned or by law. Many CEEC-countries not having the tradition to settle things through gentlemenís agreements prefer regulation by law (or ministerial decree). In view of the fact that these countries find themselves in a transitional stage, this may be the most effective approach for the time being provided that the regulation is not too narrow and not too detailed. [1]

Whatever transfer-regulation is chosen two elements should be taken into account: (1) within one discipline transfer-criteria are uniform and (2) transfer criteria are public and transparent to students.

8.2. Higher professional education is open to graduates from secondary general education and from secondary vocational education. As far as the latter graduates are concerned, they obviously will enter into the hpe-discipline that corresponds with their secondary education. To the graduates from secondary general education in principle all hpe-disciplines are open. However, hpe-establishments can demand for a particular subject specialization as an additional entry requirement for specific hpe-courses. If so, all establishments offering the same hpe-discipline must agree on these additional entry requirements.

[1]  Since in many CEEC countries the hpe-sector is in the very first stage of development it still has to prove and to settle itself. Narrow and detailed regulations -in this stage hardly imaginable after all- will rather hinder than further the development of hpe.

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