A one-year orientation programme for students finishing lower secondary education (grade 8) has been piloted since 2018/19. It focuses on acquiring basic competences necessary to make informed career choices.

In 2018, a one-year orientation programme was launched by the vocational school maintained by the Piarist Order in Göd. Its aim was to assist pupils and their parents in making an informed choice among the different learning pathways after lower secondary education. The programme involves development of basic skills and key competences, in line with the Industry 4.0 national strategy and future labour market trends.

The pilot (optional) orientation year is a transition year between lower and upper secondary school for students who have finished their lower secondary education (grade 8) but are uncertain about their future studies. The programme offers personalised career counselling, strengthening of basic competences, and developing self-knowledge and soft skills. It is expected that the initiative will attract learners at risk of dropping out from education and training, reducing school dropout rates.

From pilot to mainstream

The first pilot year was so successful, that the VET school in Göd extended the programme to 2019/20. Six vocational schools from four vocational centres have also launched orientation year programmes. The measure is expected to be available for nationwide implementation from September 2020 as part of actions based on the national vet 4.0 strategy.

A new teaching method coupled with personalised support

There is no traditional classroom learning, but rather a career counselling course. Students become acquainted with different professions in order to continue their studies more self-confidently and intentionally after one year. The programme offers training to acquire 21st century skills: cooperation, team work, critical thinking, problem-solving.

Teaching is project-based. Every week, learners experience of a different profession hands-on (e.g. in the painting profession project learners use their maths skills to calculate the quantity of the paint needed; in informatics the profession is researched on the internet).

An individual learning pathway is at centre of the approach. There is no central curriculum, as learning needs may differ (in communication skills, numeracy etc.). Each student has his/her own mentor. Twice a week they assess the student’s performance together against specific goals set, and reflect on areas for improvement. Personal visits to companies are organised (job-shadowing). The overall purpose is to help pupils project themselves in a given situation and reflect on the skills they need to develop and training pathways to choose.

The learning environment is shaped flexibly according to the subject taught. The evaluation is also unusual: there are no grades; instead, students receive text reviews on their progress and on individual learning needs. This pedagogical approach requires flexibility and cooperation from the teachers as well.

Students receive a scholarship during the year. In the 2018/2019 pilot school year:

  • 48 students participated in three groups of 16-persons each;
  • 23 teachers and mentors took part in the project (general subject teachers, teaching assistants, social pedagogists, career counsellors);
  • the pilot period foreseen is three years (2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21);
  • elaboration of specific teaching methodology started.

Participation in the orientation year is not compulsory, but its success and efficiency is proven by the fact that for the 2019/20 school year it was considerably oversubscribed.

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Orientáció „más szemszögből nézik az egészet”
[Piloting the optional orientation year in the vocational school of the Piarist Order in Göd]