Combining theory and practice - future teachers are to explore businesses

Stuttgart. Initiated by the Competence Center Economic Education Baden-Württemberg, representatives of the Ministry of Sciences, Research and the Arts as well as of the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Sports of Baden-Württemberg met with delegates from various teacher training colleges in the federal state at the Ministry of Sciences in Stuttgart on 30 May 2008. The Competence Center Economic Education, which operates under the roof of Würth's Charitable Trust, has had positive experiences with business explorations within the framework of its BusinessPracticeProgram (WirtschaftsPraxisProgramm, WiPP). They have encouraged it to push for the compulsory incorporation of an internship in business into the curriculum of students hoping to be business and economics teachers. Thus, the trainee teachers are to gain insights into business processes already during their studies.

The teacher training colleges in Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Ludwigsburg, Schwäbisch Gmünd and Weingarten offer the subject of business and economics to the students training to teach at Hauptschulen and Realschulen (schools preparing students for apprenticeships and vocational qualifications). At present, the course of study does not provide for any compulsory practical experiences in companies or businesses. With the objective of supporting a stronger interconnection between theory and practice, the Competence Center initiated the WiPP program. In the spring of 2007, the students of business and economics from the Ludwigsburg teacher training college got a chance to spend time in various businesses in the Hohenlohe region within the context of the WiPP. At the beginning of 2008, the program was continued and expanded successfully with the teacher training colleges at Schwäbisch Gmünd und Weingarten as well as with other businesses.

“The students’ expectations of the WiPP have been fulfilled in a positive manner. Many could even notice how their know-how of tasks, processes and interconnections in business administration has been increased considerably,” said Sven Entenmann, head of the Competence Center, expressing his satisfaction with the program. The discussions at the Ministry of Sciences are to provide decisive impetus for a potential incorporation of WiPP into the subject of business and economics as a compulsory element.

The Competence Center’s suggestion proposes that WiPP is turned into an essential component of business and economics studies in 2010 at the latest, when the two courses of study preparing teachers for the two different types of school are to be merged. This would ensure that all students of business and economics would get the chance to participate in a two-day WiPP at least once during their studies. In addition, the knowledge obtained during the internship would be supported by a well-founded preparation and follow-up.

The Competence Center Economic Education Baden-Württemberg

The Competence Center Economic Education Baden-Württemberg is an initiative of the Künzelsau entrepreneur Professor Reinhold Würth. He created this institution on 1 October 2005 under the roof of the Charitable Würth Trust, pursuing the main goal of bringing economic and entrepreneurial actions closer to the schools and ensuring that students get a better grasp of the matter. There is a close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, Youth and Sports of Baden-Württemberg.