Top 5 BMBF initiatives working towards bilateral cooperation in VET with India



The German-Indian cooperation in VET by the BMBF is part of a larger German engagement which includes other stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the GIZ, Germany-based NGOs, private companies etc. The aim of this article is to provide an insight into the VET cooperation activities of the BMBF and its grounding in the five quality features of the German VET system. 

In recent years, the development of vocational and technical skills (VET) and competencies has been given great importance across the globe. Similarly, in India, skill development has been recognized as a top priority and  the German-Indian cooperation has acquired greater significance. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been actively cooperating with India in the field of VET since 2008. To capture the journey so far, a short overview of the current BMBF activities in the field of VET in India is given below.

As you are aware, in Germany, skill development is one of the most important success factors of its strong economy. A high quality of VET allows Germany to rely on its qualified professionals and forms  the basis for the quality label “Made in Germany”. For many decades, “Made in Germany” has represented highest precision, trust and innovation and is one of the decisive purchase arguments for many consumers, also recognised and highly valued in India. Similarly, the German Dual VET system has always been an important reference point for India to model various skilling programs.

The Indian-German VET cooperation under the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the GIZ goes back 60 years. The partnership has resulted in the establishment of different VET institutions such as the National Instructional Media Institute“ (NIMI) or the Central Staff Training & Research Institute (CSTARI) which continue to play a central role in the Indian VET system.  Since 2008, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has extended its bilateral cooperation in education with India to include VET and since 2016 both Federal Ministries jointly cooperate with India on VET.

Top 5 BMBF initiatives

5 Quality features of German Dual VET for international cooperation in VET

Dual VET in Germany is based on five quality features which also serve as the guiding principles for international VET cooperation and advisory measures of German stakeholders. These key elements haven been described in detail in the first article (LINK to article 1). Here is a quick recap.

  1. Learning within the work process (
  2. Joint responsibility of state, trade and industry and social partners (
  3. Acceptance of national standards (
  4. Qualified VET staff (
  5. Institutionalised research and consultation (

Also read: German Dual VET and its potential for the international context – visit:

An important question in the advisory process is how to transfer the idea of quality features to the Indian context. The priorities of the BMBF in its cooperation with India are the implementation of dual VET, the setting of occupational standards, the qualification of VET personnel and VET research.

Cluster- based approach to introducing dual VET in India

The development of industrial clusters of small and medium-sized enterprises has been a key instrument in India for decades. It has recently been adopted by the Indian government as part of the reform of the country’s vocational training system. The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as well as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) support these efforts as these measures will have a systemic effect. The objective is to enable the clusters and enterprises to provide up-to-date, demand-driven vocational training within the Indian apprenticeship system. At the same time, they will be enabled to skill existing staff according to their needs and as part of continuing their internal training processes. 

The German-Indian VET cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is represented by the following institutions and projects, which will be featured in forthcoming newsletters. 


The German Office for International VET cooperation (GOVET) is the main point of contact for national and international VET cooperation stakeholders. On the website GOVET provides various documents and tools for the work of stakeholders in international VET. GOVET is part of the Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) which many foreign delegations have visited to learn more about the German dual VET system.

iMOVE with office in India

iMOVE is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is also part of the BIBB. iMOVE has had an office in India since 2011 and provides matchmaking services for all Indian institutions and organizations to identify suitable German training partners. On example is the wide range of training programmes for trainers offered by German training partners (“Training – Made in Germany“) which has been successfully implemented in transnational cooperation projects including India. 

SINADE (implemented by bfz gGmbH)

The SINADE project, implemented by bfz gGmbH, focuses on strengthening company models of dual VET in three industrial clusters in Northern India through a bottom-up approach. The aim of the measure is to develop a corporate blueprint for dual vocational training that can be deployed to other clusters later on. The idea is to promote local cooperation between public entities and private sector organisations, such as chambers and associations, in order to jointly implement cooperative, workplace-based trainings in industrial clusters.

GIIVET (implemented by Indo-German Chamber of Commerce – IGCC)

The aim of the GIIVET (German Indian Institute for VET) project is to establish whether and how it is feasible to sustainably implement and certify dual VET oriented at the German standard. Certification will be issued by NVCT and a certificate issued by the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK). If the feasibility study is successful, up to three German-Indian Dual VET institutes will be established.

QUALINDIA (implemented by University of Cologne)

The quality of vocational training programs has been systematically researched in Germany for many years and further developed in practice to continuously improve the VET system. In the international context, there are only a few scientific findings on quality, especially in India. The research project therefore focuses on quality analysis in Indian VET. In partnership with highly recognized Indian research groups, the aim is to derive at a quality model for vocational education tailored to India. The developed tools will be used after a preliminary test in ITIs and Polytechnics in New Delhi and Bangalore and evaluated on the basis of scientific standards. The research findings should help to inform educational policy processes. The developed indicators and measuring methods are made freely available for practical use (as a toolbox for quality surveys). 

We hope you have acquired a fair understanding of how BMBF has embarked on key initiatives in India. Our main objective is to create long-term engagement with India in positively impacting the VET system. In case you wish to learn more about how to be a part of any of the above projects please write to us at:

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