Leibniz Center for Science and Society Research Our Research Projects
Inclusive Access to Higher Education Institutions via Vocational Schools?

Inclusive Access to Higher Education Institutions via Vocational Schools?

This bridging project deals with vocational schools as possible institutional pathways to higher education in Germany from a sociological and educational science perspective. We ask whether and how vocational schools allow for the reduction or compensation of social inequalities in the transition from upper secondary education to higher education. Distinctions are made between the different types of vocational schools and university entrance qualifications. In addition, the study examines the extent to which scientific knowledge impacts the practical implementation and legitimization of decisions and actions of vocational schools that support the transition to higher education. Overall, the project will clarify how institutional and social permeability to higher education are promoted by specific schools, school types and their organizational contexts. In a first step, different types of vocational schools and higher education entrance qualifications will be quantitatively analyzed based on the data of the “DZHW Panel Study of School Leavers with a Higher Education Entrance Qualification”. The analysis focuses in particular on the institutional mediation of socially inclusive university admissions with a special focus on social origin and gender. Based on these results and in a second step, we use a qualitative research design to better understand the institutional and organizational effects of the schools on socially permeable trajectories of their students to higher education. For this purpose, we compare contrasting, context-sensitive case studies of selected vocational schools in Lower Saxony. By demonstrating how some vocational schools enable more social equality than others in providing access to higher education, we hope to draw some policy-relevant recommendations to further improve social permeability on the vocational path to higher education. 

Project Period:


Project Lead:

Prof. Dr. Christian ImdorfDr. Nadine Bernhard

Project Member:

Nadine Dörffer, M.A.

Further Information

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Imdorf, Christian; Bernhard, Nadine; Dörffer, Nadine (2021): Wege an die Hochschule. Können berufliche Schulen Zugänge zu einer akademischen Bildung sozial öffnen? In: Unimagazin. Forschungsmagazin der Leibniz Universität Hannover (03/04), 14-17.