The Berufskolleg Kaufmännische Schulen, as the name suggests, is a council-run college specialized in business/commerce/finance oriented courses. It does not offer any courses in crafts or in the technical/engineering fields. Our neighbouring school, the Berufskolleg Rheine, which is totally independent of us, caters for these.
The school has a full-time staff of 110, the number of students totals nearly 2200.
All courses that Colleges of Further Education in Germany offer fit in a nationwide, or rather "länder"-wide framework with set curricula wherever a student chooses to attend one of the courses.
The College comprises a day-release section for students undergoing a three-years' course of vocational training in the administration of one of the following fields of business: banking, manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, medical practice management, legal advisory services, tax advisory services.
These students come to us twice a week and get tuition in general subjects, i.e. German, politics, physical education, religious instruction and specific training related subjects: business administration, economics, mathematics, accounting, word-processing, information technology. English is an additional optional subject in these courses. At the end of their vocational training students sit an examination at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The diploma they get on passing the exam enables them to take up qualified employment in their field of business.
Moreover, the College runs a Fachschule für Wirtschaft, Fachrichtung Betriebswirtschaft (business administration), as a part-time course of 3 or 4 years depending on the entrance qualification. This course is designed for students that have already completed their vocational training in business and commerce and have had at least two more years of work experience in their occupation. This course provides the missing link between a qualification from a university or a university of applied sciences and the traditional qualifications provided for by technical colleges in Germany. The degree of competence achieved in this type of course might be similar to level 4 in the British NVQ framework.
Since the school year 2006 we have been running a one-year course in international accounting for students who have already completed their three-year vocational training as a tax advisor's management assistant. With this course we account for the increasing demand for qualified employees who are able to cope with balancing and reporting on the basis of the International Accounting Standards (IAS) or the International Financial Reporting standards (FRS).
Full-time courses (GCSE, GCSE A-level courses)
In the full-time branch of our College we run two- and three-year courses leading to what might be compared to the British GCSE (Berufsfachschule für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung) and GCSE A-level (Wirtschaftsgymnasium and Zweijährige Höhere Handelsschule). In the latter two foreign languages are required, of which English is also a compulsory examination subject. The timetable focuses on economic subjects, such as business administration, accounting, data-processing, etc. Students completing the Höhere Handelsschule usually take up vocational training in banks, administration, management or other clerical jobs. Those who take their A-levels at the Wirtschaftsgymnasium more often opt for studying at university after finishing their school. In the three-year branch, we also offer a language-orientated class that – apart from GCSE A-level - qualifies as two-language secretaries. In order to make the course truly international, a four-week period abroad is also included in this course. In these four weeks, which may be spent in a number of European countries our school has links to, the students are expected to gain work experience abroad to broaden their minds as well as to improve their language command. To complement the final GCSE A-level qualification the students have to sit an exam from the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
There is also an additional language-orientated class in the two-year branch (Höhere Handelsschule). Besides two languages special attention is paid to international relations. One business-related subject of the timetable is predominantly taught in English.
Besides there are one-year courses leading to A-level standard for students that have already completed vocational training (Fachoberschule Klasse 12 + 13 für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung) and a ´post A-level´ course for students that have taken their A-levels at a traditional grammar school and wish to gain insight into economic subjects and deepen their knowledge of foreign languages or take up another foreign language (Höhere Handelsschule für Abiturienten).
"Europaschule in Nordrhein-Westfalen"
Moreover, in February 2008, our school was awarded the title "Europaschule in Nordrhein-Westfalen" by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Federal and European Affairs in Northrhine-Westphalia. The school received this award in recognition of its long-term, outstanding efforts to establish links to partner schools in other European countries, organise exchange programmes and run international school projects, all in the framework of the Lingua IV, Comenius and Leonardo programmes. In addition, "Europaschulen", like our college, offer their students an extended range of foreign languages and the chance to obtain Europe-wide accepted language certificates in different languages and promote an understanding of the "European concept", as it was laid down in the Treaty of Rome in 1957.