Students and alumni explore education policy in practice at local Berlin school

Hertie Education Network members learn about German vocational education system.

In the education sector, there is no one-size-fits-all policy approach: schools specialise in different subjects, have pre-existing infrastructures and cater to local needs. This was one of the key takeaways from a visit to a local Berlin school by Hertie School master’s students and alumni on 9 February. PhD researcher and Hertie Education Network coordinator Anna Prisca Lohse organised the excursion to the Louise-Schroeder-Schule in collaboration with the school’s Senior Teacher Esther von Boehmer. Lukas Graf, Assistant Professor of Educational Governance and head of the Educational Governance research team at the Hertie School, also joined.

The Louise-Schroeder-Schule is a public upper secondary school and vocational college (Oberstufenzentrum) for public administration and office management that also offers welcome classes for immigrant and refugee students as well as training for the job market. During the school visit, the Hertie Education Network gained a unique perspective into the German vocational education and training system and how education policy is put into practice.

“Exploring policy implementation on the ground is an experience that goes beyond reading hundreds of policy papers and news articles,” reflected Radwa Radwan, a first-year Master of Data Science for Public Policy student. “We not only discussed the school's digitalisation strategy, but also had the chance to attend classes with the students and listen to their views. The visit provided profound insights into educational policy with particular regard to the German dual system.”

In addition to meeting with students currently training for careers in public administration, the Hertie Education Network also spoke with the school’s leaders, Director Ralph Buß, Deputy Director Andreas Möls and IT Specialist Bernhard Willaredt. The group observed the real-life implementation of the DigitalPakt Schule, Germany’s major digital reform initiative for the education sector, and visited the school’s newly established Digital Lounge, a centre for independent studies.

Andrew Butler, a 2020 graduate of the Master of Public Policy, saw first-hand the parallels between the DigitalPakt policies he focused on during his studies and their implementation in the real world at the Louise-Schroeder-Schule. "While at Hertie in 2019, I enrolled in a project course on innovation in the public sector in which my group developed a plan to implement the then-fresh DigitalPakt within Berlin schools. I had the privilege to enter the Louise-Schroeder-Schule with the Hertie Education Network and see first-hand how an institution approached this, especially during a pandemic.”

The Hertie Education Network is a group of educators, policy-makers and researchers who focus on local, national and global education policies and their political and socio-economic impact. The network aims actively to engage with and contribute to the education landscape in Berlin.


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