European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network Database, ELGPN Database

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Name of the good/interesting practice/initiative/policy

Quality assurance through a training curriculum for guidance practitioners in higher education in Germany by the university association for counsellors and guidance practitioners “Society for Information, Guidance and Therapy at Universities” (´´´GIBeT)



I am proposing that this example will be published also in the KSLLL database


1. Background

What makes this an example of good/interesting practice/initiative/policy?
- The motivation of the initiative (What is the history/background of the policy?)
- Linkages with LLG policy priorities (Please add references to other national/EU policies or documents)
- Participants
The professional status of guidance practitioners is not commonly regulated in Germany including in the Higher Education (HE) system. However, through the Bologna reforms and the increasing differentiations of HE, professional guidance services are becoming increasingly important in this sector. They are expected to support individual study choices and transitions from school to HE, provide transparency of the various study opportunities and avoid disorientation that result from the substantial changes whithin the German HE system. At the same time, universities are even more competing with each other and guidance is a quality criterion of services for students.

Higher qualifications for counsellors in HE have already been recommended by the German Rector´s Conference (HRK) in order to support the Bologna reforms (HRK, 1994). Now, the ´´´GIBeT training curriculum comes at a time when quality and professionalism of guidance are high on the agenda in Germany as well as in Europe. The EU Council Resolutions on guidance 2004 and 2008, European developments e.g. in the ELGPN, ERASMUS and national developments significantly forced the establishment of a professional and quality standard in guidance services.

Guidance in HE is further competing to support the EU2020 goals: reduce drop-out, increase participation in higher education and raise the number of graduates in natural sciences and engineering. These objectives however may only be reached if guidance practitioners have the necessary skills and competences to provide services in high quality.

Aims and targets
- Objectives of the initiative (What did the policy set out to achieve?)
- Target group
- Methods applied to reach the objective (technological and /or pedagogical)
In order to enhance the quality and professionalism of guidance services and counselling in HE as well as to ensure the professional status of practitioners through qualification and certification, the university counsellor’s association “Society for Information, Guidance and Therapy at Universities (´´´GIBeT)” developed a training curriculum for guidance practitioners in this field. Furthermore it encourages lifelong vocational education and training. And in general, the curriculum is intended to support the professionalisation and the standardisation of the job profile.

The training curriculum is directed at people providing educational counselling in institutions of HE. This involves all kinds of different professions e.g. pedagogical, psychological or socio-pedagogical professions.

The contents of the training curriculum are grounded in the tasks of the general guidance services in HE which are based in central counselling and guidance units in contrast to the faculty-based expert advisory on subject related matters. The curriculum defines a series of compulsory basic modules and a number of further specific modules from which counsellors may choose.

2. Implementation

Strategy and actions (Please describe the approach adopted to make the reform work and any actions taken.)
- Level of implementation (national, regional etc.)
- Implementation (description)
Since 2009, the draft of the training curriculum, which was developed by some of the association’s board members, was broadly discussed within the ´´´GIBeT. In September 2011 the curriculum was finally passed by the general assembly which is constituted of practitioners working in educational
guidance and counselling in HE. The curriculum defines the structure for potential training programmes . In 2012 the training commission started its work to build up the relevant structures, to evaluate and accredit available training provisions and to include them in an online database. Being driven by a national professional association, the curriculum will be implemented on a national level. This offers flexible and decentralized training provisions as each practitioner can select what he or she needs. Courses of different training providers throughout Germany must be accredited by the training commission in order to be included in the database of training provisions.

Arranged in basic and advanced modules, the curriculum based programmes in the database involve courses on different aspects of counselling and guidance at universities: the education and labour system, pedagogical/ psychological theories, counselling competences, group and project management, information and cooperation and quality assurance. Practitioners may choose between two profiles according to their main professional tasks: „educational counselling” and „education management”..

Once counsellors successfully completed the related qualifications and trainings, they receive a certificate from the training commission. This is an individualized process in which informal and prior learning and experiences may also be examined and recognized by the training commission.

Monitoring and evaluation
- What has been put in place for monitoring and evaluation?
- What actors are involved?
The training commission examines the training provisions according to the training curriculum and organises the implementation. Additionally, the commission is responsible for the further development of the training curriculum. Further, the training commission examines and decides upon the recognition of practitioner competences. The training commission is appointed for a period of two years by the executive board which is in turn elected by the members of the association.

3. Outcomes

Achievements (Please describe the main outcomes/results according to the following headings. Each option can be answered - up to 50 words)
- Specific results
- Cost effectiveness
- Budget
- Innovative aspects
At present (summer 2012) the training commission is working on accreditation criteria for training providers. The online-database with accredited available training provisions will be published in autumn 2012. At the same time the recognition procedure for competences acquired in vocational practice will start.

Cost effectiveness is provided through a NGO approach.

Practitioners pay a low fee for the certificate and for the examination of prior and informal learning and experiences. Members of the ´´´GiBET receive a considerable discount while non-members also have to pay for access to the training provisions database.

The training curriculum of the ´´´GiBET is an innovative approach in a context with little regulation. The practitioners of the association decided as a form of self-regulation to define their own standards. Here practitioner’s competences become quality criteria of good student guidance services in HE.

Success factors (What key success factors have led to or prevented success?)
- Lessons learnt
- Unintended impacts (Have there been any unintended impacts? Positive or negative?)
Due to the bottom-up approach of this initiative which involved many practitioners, a high sense of identification is produced. There is a participative nature which will have a positive influence on the acceptance.

As a side effect, the online database including the accredited training provisions also improves transparency in the field of counsellor vocational education and training.

Strengths and weaknesses
- What areas of the policy can we learn lessons from?
- Are there still challenges ahead?
As the initiative is lacking governmental and legal reinforcement, implementation will take some time and will be more difficult. Therefore, the board continuously ensures the involvement of the members and their acceptance of the curriculum. In addition, communication and cooperation with other associations, the National Guidance Forum in Education, Career and Employment and the involvement in the Open Process of Coordination for Quality Development provides exchange and mutual recognition in the professional community.

4. Additional narrative description of the policy/practice/initiative


Additional information

Name of contact
Anne Käther

Role (in policy initiative)
Speaker of the training commission

Organization name
Gesellschaft für Information, Beratung und Therapie an Hochschulen, ´´´GIBeT ( Society for Information, Guidance and Therapy at Universities)

Fortbildungskommission Geschäftsstelle, c/o Universität Greifswald, Zentrale Studienberatung, Rubenowstraße 2, 17489 Greifswald




Website address

Documents and publications

Attached files


This information was provided/updated by:
Bernhard Jenschke

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