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Support for Education

Primary education is free since the enactment of the Right to Education Act in India. However, many families struggle to provide study materials, school bags and other things needed for their children. Due to a private donation of Prof. Matthias Pilz, given in the name of the Chair of Economics and Business Education, two young learners in Kerala received study equipment for the upcoming next school year. The donation was handed over by Sunesh Chandran from the GIZ, based in Trivandrum. We hope both will enjoy their schooldays with new and up to date material and accessories. 

Dr. Balasubramanian Ramani received Indian “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman” Award (PBSA)

Congratulations to our G.R.E.A.T. in India chief advisor Dr. Balasubramanian Ramani who received the prestigious Indian "Pravasi Bhartiya Samman" Award for his services to Indo-German cooperation in education and science in 2021. Due to the pandemic situation in 2021, the award was handed over in person by the ambassador Parvathaneni Harish on 20th March 20.03.2023 at the Leibniz University Hannover. The ceremony was attended by various honoured guests from academia and politics like the first minister of Lower-Saxony Stephan Weil and Prof. Matthias Pilz, University of Cologne. The PBSA is the highest Indian award for non-resident Indians and overseas citizen of India. Amongst others, Dr. Ramani received the award for his long-time and outstanding activities at the Center for Modern Indian Studies (CMIS) and G.R.E.A.T. in India at the Chair of Economics and Business Education, University of Cologne.

Final conference of the BMBF project “QualIndia” on the 6th and 7th of February in Delhi, India

The German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T. in India), under the direction of Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz from the University of Cologne (UoC) and the senior researchers Julia Regel and Dr. Muthu Ramasamy. hosted the conference about quality in vocational education and training (VET) in Delhi. Both project and conference were funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research.
The hosts were glad to welcome more than 40 guests including numerous highly-respected researchers from several Indian research facilities like the four project partners Prof. Dr. Santosh Mehrotra (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Prof. Dr. Uma Gengaiah (Indira Gandhi National Open University), Prof. Dr. Kothandaraman Kumar (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore) and Prof. Dr. Mona Khare (National University of Educational Planning and Administration). 
In addition, the conference included well-known researchers in the field like Prof. Dr. Usha Ajithkumar (Sastra University) and Prof. Dr. Regan Venkatram (Tamil Nadu Agricultural University) as well as many others from different regions of India. The topic of the conference was the presentation and discussion of a quality framework especially developed for the Indian skills ecosystem and proved in a smaller pilot study in India. The researchers in the project presented their various project results concerning the quality measurement in ITIs and Polytechnic Colleges. The project partners that further related to the outcomes of the project gave presentations on different perspectives on quality in VET.
Project results were intensively discussed in workshops and input presentations, and likewise related to directions of- and feasible topics for further research in future. The basis for future Indo-German research collaboration is the so-called Declaration of Delhi, which was signed in 2017 by Indian and German researchers in the field of skill development and vocational education. The conference was a fruitful closure of the QualIndia project. All documents and instruments will be delivered for free to Indian institutions via a special website of the research center G.R.E.A.T. in India.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz: „Most Productive Author“

Source: Gessler et al. (2021, p. 189)

In the study by Gessler, Nägele & Stadler (2021), a "scoping review" or "bibliometric mapping analysis" was carried out for the research field at the boundary between "learning and work For this purpose, a total of 5,474 peer-reviewed publications were taken into account, which were published between 2011 and 2020 and are listed in the Scopus database. The focus of the evaluation and structuring was, among other things, on the most frequently used keywords (e.g., the clusters "workplace learning", "apprenticeships", "teacher-training" etc.), the most frequently cited papers and authors as well as existing "collaborative networks" between countries, journals and authors. With a number of 28 publications between 2011-2020, Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz was identified as the "most productive author" in this study. Of his papers, his typology approach in the context of international comparative VET research was cited most frequently. The study by Gessler, Nägele and Stadler was published in a special issue of the International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training and is available here (open access).

Indo-German Networking: Visits to the IIMs in Kolkata and Shillong

In June 2022, Prof. Matthias Pilz and Julia Regel had the opportunity to visit the Indian Institutes of Management in Kolkata and Shillong to intensify existing connections and expand collaborative networks with researchers active in the field of skill development and vocational education and training at both Institutes. G.R.E.A.T. in India has a history of joint activities with the IIMs starting from 2016. Meetings were held with the Directors Prof. Uttam Kumar Sarkar (Kolkata) and Prof. D. P. Goyal (Shillong) and the research network, to sort out possibilities for future exchange activities and projects. During plenty of fruitful and inspiring discussions, not only an exchange of expertise and information took place. In addition, a number of concrete first project plans in form of research studies as well as bilateral student activities were developed. The team of G.R.E.A.T. in India is looking forward to upcoming exchange and collaboration!

Exchange with Skill Development Experts from Gurajat

On 21st of June 2022, an expert group of the Government of Gujarat, India, visited the German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training at the Chair of Economics and Business Education. Prof. Matthias Pilz gave insights into the activities of the Chair and current research projects. Dr. Anju Sharma, Principal Secretary of the newly established Kaushalya Skill University in Gujarat, shared recent developments and future projects regarding skill development in Gujarat. Engaging in mutual exchange, the group specifically discussed the German vocational education and training (VET) system as compared to Indian VET and discussed possible future projects and possibilities for collaboration. 

INGENIoS: Indo-German Network Interaction of Scientists

G.R.E.A.T. in India is included in the project "INGENIoS" to expand the cooperation with the Indian partners in the field of social sciences. With the involvement of further partners from science and industry, the project aims to intensify partnership cooperation at the institutional level. The project is led by Prof. Karl Schneider of the Institute of Geography from the University of Cologne. More information about the project can be found here.


Dr. Balasubramanian Ramani received Indian "Pravasi Bhartiya Samman" Award

Congratulations to our G.R.E.A.T. in India chief advisor Dr. Balasubramanian Ramani, who received the prestigious Indian "Pravasi Bhartiya Samman" Award for his services to Indo-German cooperation in education and science!
Dr Ramani will receive the award from the President of India in the course of 2021. 


Interview with Dr. Balasubramanian Ramani

Dr. Balasubramanian Ramani, Chief Advisor of G.R.E.A.T. in India, as a guest in the Wednesdays Dialogue Series of the Consulate General of India at 02.12.2020. The full interview can be found here.



Past activities



Publication of the India study in the series "International Handbook of Vocational Education and Training" by Antje Wessels and Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz

Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, Bonn

The publication is part of the International Handbook of Vocational Education and Training (IHBB) and is published by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) in Bonn. The handbook deals with VET in a broad context of culture, education system and labour market and provides important insights for international comparative VET research with a focus on India. It serves as an important reference work for researchers and those interested in India.

A free english version of the handbook can be downloaded here.

Lecture on 19th of July 2018 about the Indian vocational education system in the context of the 15th Indian Film Festival in Stuttgart.

Foto: © Frank von zur Gathen



Prof. Rohit Dwivedi und Prof. Santosh Kumar Prusty (Indian Institute of Management, Shillong)

From 01 December to 16 December 2016 Prof. Rohit Dwivedi and Prof. Santosh Kumar Prusty from the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong stay at the Chair of Economics and Business Education / at the German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.).

During their stay they concentrate on new joint research projects between the Indian Institute of Mangament and the Chair for Economics and Business Education. Furthermore, they visit the vocational school Lindenstraße and meet researchers as well as the head of the training department of the University of Cologne.

Publication of Muthuveeran Ramasamy's doctoral thesis

Muthuveeran Ramasamy shows that the formal way of vocational education and training (VET) in rural areas often ignores the illiterate, the less educated, and the poor. The author demonstrates that VET programs need to be demand-driven and consider the socio-economic aspects of particular regions. Therefore, the significance of the study at grassroots level helps customize VET programs to respond to the demand of the individuals’ vocational training needs of rural people by keeping their endogenous needs at the centre of vocational skill development processes. The findings and lessons learnt from action research are also intensively discussed as guiding principles of demand-driven approaches from the learners’/societal perspectives.

Further information about the book can be found here.

Konthandaraman Kumar: Visiting professor of the CMIS-UC

From October to March 2017, Professor Kumar will be visiting professor at the CMIS-UC in Cologne. Prof. Kumar holds the chair of Family Business and Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB). During his stay at the University of Cologne, he will give lectures for students in the master programs of business studies and business education. Furthermore, various research projects on the topic of Entrepreneurship Education in vocational schools in India are planned.

Period of research by Tutan Ahmed, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India

Tutan Ahmed from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta has an academic stay at the Chair of Economics and Business Education / the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CMIS-UC) from 12 May to 11 June 2016. The project is financially supported by the CMIS-UC.

Cologne Summer School 2016

„Germany, we´ll come!“ answered the Indians to our visit in Pune, India in March 2016.
Seven students of the Symbiosis International University were accompanied by their Professor Ms. Khushbu Thadani. The Summer School in Cologne took place from the 17th to 30th of April 2016. A varied program including excursions to neighboring towns, site visits, company visits and interesting lectures was offered.

Our Indian friends saw the variety of the typical April weather – from sun, to rain and up to snow. But this could not stop the good mood about the visit.

Our Indian guests explored the University of Cologne, got to know basic knowledges about German language, history and educational system. According to this they had a side visit at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training in Bonn and a lecture about the role of the German Chamber of Commerce in Cologne.

Cultural highlights were the site visit of the Duisburg inner harbour, the Zeche Zollverein in Essen and the traditional German Castle Schloss Augustusburg in Brühl. Furthermore they had guided walking tours through Bonn and Cologne. Bonn was amazing due to its cherry blossoms and in Cologne we got surprised by an Indian guide who also came from Pune.

Moreover we had company visits at Bayer AG and the chemical park in Leverkusen and German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne.

A special highlight was the lecture about „Indian IT migration to Germany“ by Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar who is currently a Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS), University of Göttingen.

Curious about the typical German food a dinner in a traditional brewery was obligatory for our Indian guests.

Regardless of the wind and weather conditions we climbed the Cologne cathedral with its 533 steps as part of our Tandem Day. From the top the Indian and German students got a wonderful view over the city.

Finally the German-Indian friendship was demonstrated in the joint elaboration and presentation of a case study which was a fun and nice ending of the Summer School program.

We want to thank all participants and involved persons for a successful Summer School 2016. We are looking forward to see us again – if in India or in Germany.

Research for DFG-Project in India and China

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As production processes become increasingly complex, multinational companies in the manufacturing sector are in increasing need of skilled workers at their production sites. Especially in emerging economies, German direct investors face challenges in finding appropriately skilled workers. The answer how they meet this challenge is a key issue of the project “Global Strategies and Local Forms of Vocational Education and Training in German Mulitnational Companies – a Comparison across Emerging Economies”. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The research team consisting of Prof. Dr. Matthias Pilz and Kristina Wiemann (Chair of Economics and Business Education) and Prof. Dr. Martina Fuchs and Judith Wiemann (Department of Economic and Social Geography) was in Bangalore in India and Shanghai in China from 9th to 20th of February 2016 in order to find first answers to this question. In expert interviews with plant managers and HR or training managers of German Global Players but also with smaller transnational German companies, they discussed about how the companies organize their training activities and to what extend there is an influence of headquarters or the local plant. In addition, they focused on the way in which the companies develop local arrangements for training activities in their subsidiaries and whether they transfer parts of the German dual system – with which they are familiar. These interesting insights will now be evaluated and compared to the findings, which were identified in the first study in Puebla in Mexico.

During this year, Judith Wiemann and Kristina Wiemann will stay longer in these three countries for a more profound consideration of these issues. First publications are in progress and will appear in the near future.

Indian Summer School 2016 at Symbiosis International University, Pune

„India, we’ll come!“, eleven students of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Science and their supervisor Kristina Wiemann thought on Saturday, 27th February 2016. In the context of the CMIS Summer School they will attend an exciting program on “Indian Culture, Economy and Education System”. Next to site visits to urban as well as rural areas they visited a factory for Indian spices, a school as well as old ruins and picturesque gardens.

Friendships were quickly made with students from Symbiosis International University. Luckily they don’t have to wait for a reunion for too long. In April eight students from Pune will come to Cologne to get to know the German “Culture, Economy and Education System” including the German weather, cuisine as well as great hospitality.

For sure, the students of both universities will keep the many interesting impressions and experiences in mind for a long time.

Book Launch "India: Preparation for the world of work - Education System and school to work transition" at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Banaglore

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On 12th February 2016 Prof. Matthias Pilz (Ed.) invited to introduce the book "India: Preparation for the world of work - Education System and school to work transition". This book gives a perfect overview of all stages of the education and labour market system in India on the one hand. On the other hand the reader gets the opportunity of being informed about latest research finding on this topic in India. The distribution of the book is now possible.

In cooperation with Prof. Tara Nayana and Prof. K. Kumar the event took place at the renowned Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore. We welcomed more than ten authors and also Consul General Jörn Rohde from the German Consulate General in Bangalore. More information about the book can be found here.

An article about the book can be found here.

Indian delegation visits the Chair of Economics and Business Education at University of Cologne

On 2nd February 2016 five delegates from India (CSTARI, MSDE, NSDA and FTI) along with Maren Verfürth (BIBB) and Dörte Merk (DLR) participated in a workshop on "Teachers' Training at the academic level” hold by Prof. Matthias Pilz and Antje Wessels. After a presentation on teacher training in Germany, Ms. Wessels gave also an overview on benefits and status of VET teachers in Germany as well as an insight on the teaching practice of our Masters’ Programme. Prof. Matthias Pilz presented past research projects to highlight the importance of cooperation between academia and government.  The workshop ended with a discussion on possible future projects.

Research stay of Muthuveeran Ramasamy

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In October 2015 Muthuveeran Ramasamy from the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) came to the University of Cologne to finish his dissertation. After about 5 years of work and recurrent research stays, he successful defended his thesis "Demand-driven Approaches in Vocational Education and Training: A Case Study of Rural Population" and was invited to take part in the graduation ceremony.

GREAT in India at the Seminar on "Increasing the Effectiveness of Vocational Education in India and Germany" in New Delhi

G.R.E.A.T in India and the Center for Modern Indian Studies (CMIS-UC) at the University of Cologne join hands with Shri Ram Center for Industrial Relations and Human Resources (Shri Ram Center), New Delhi to organize a seminar on “Increasing the Effectiveness of Vocational Education in India and Germany” from 13.-16. February 2012 at the DFG house, New Delhi. The Background of the seminar could be remembered as Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr. Annette Schavan and India's Minister of Labour Mallikarjun Kharge held bilateral talks in New Delhi on 31 May 2011 parallel to the German-Indian government consultations headed by Germany's Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. The seminar was supported through the German Research Foundation (DFG) program for initiation and intensification of bilateral relations and by the Shir Ram Center. The seminar brought together the German experts coordinated by Prof. Matthias Pilz, Director of GREAT in India and CMISUC, and Indian experts coordinated by Prof. Joginder S. Sodhi, Director, Shri Ram Center. The German group consisted of six research experts out of the field of pre-vocational education, technical vocational education and vocational business education. The deliberations focused on the current situation of VET in India and Germany, invited Indian speakers from different stakeholder groups including the representatives from Government, Industry and academic institutions including on the different programs currently realized to address the needs, followed by discussions and an action plan for further joint research projects. The specific topics discussed concerned in particular the insufficient capacity, the status of vocational training, the quality of vocational training, the bilateral investment in VET, and the emergence of new sectors.