The Challenges of Policy Transfer in Vocational Skills Development

National Qualifications Frameworks and the Dual Model of Vocational Training in International Cooperation

by Markus Maurer (Volume editor) Philipp Gonon (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection 363 Pages


In the context of renewed global interest in the development of vocational skills, policy makers in many countries as well as representatives of technical organisations often hope to reform existing training systems by borrowing models and policies that seem to work elsewhere. One of these prominent models is that of ‘National Qualifications Framework’, the use of which now spans the entire globe. On a much smaller scale, the ‘Dual Model’ of vocational training – a systematic combination of school and workplace-based learning that is common in a number of countries in Western Europe – has also gained attention in international cooperation.
Bringing together contributions from authors involved in both the theory and practice of vocational skills training development, this volume analyses the challenges that are tied to the transfer of these two dominant models in the context of international cooperation, sheds light on how they are being implemented, and discusses alternatives to the standard approaches to policy transfer.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Editors
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Contents
  • Notes on contributors
  • Part One: Reflecting on policy transfer in vocational skills development
  • The challenges of policy transfer in vocational skills development: An introduction: Markus Maurer, Philipp Gonon
  • 1. The re-emergence of TVET and the role of policy transfer
  • 2. Policy transfer and diffusion in the comparative education literature
  • 3. Development of a global toolkit for vocational skills development
  • 4. The politics of transferring policy models in VSD
  • 5. The two models at the core of this book
  • 6. Aim and overview of the book
  • References
  • Skills, competencies, and knowledge in international translation and cooperation: Kenneth King
  • Introduction
  • Skills and competencies
  • Historical challenges to policy transfer
  • Some illustrations of skills development transfers, North-South
  • 1. Africa learning about skills from the southern states of the USA
  • 2. Diversified secondary education through World Bank support
  • 3. The promotion of training in the private sector by the World Bank in 1991
  • National cultures of training and the adoption of innovations
  • The case of the dual system
  • The parallel case of the export of NQFs
  • Skills and systems of knowledge in conclusion
  • References
  • What do we need for vocational skills development: Data, consultancy or research? All of them!: Michel Carton
  • Are VSD data and evidence a Post-2015 MDG’s discourse or an undervalued reality?
  • Researching education and training in Africa: Scientific and institutional constraints
  • Consultancy, research governance, capacity building: A winning team?
  • Researching VSD: A window of opportunity to be opened without leaning out – danger!
  • Researching what?
  • Researching VSD for what: A new development model?
  • Conclusion: what sort of skills development research in the Post 2015 MDGs and beyond?
  • References
  • Part Two: Transfer of national qualifications frameworks
  • National qualifications frameworks and apprenticeships: Promises, premises, pitfalls: Stephanie Allais
  • Introduction
  • Promises
  • Promises met and unmet
  • Pitfalls: Implementation and use of qualifications frameworks
  • Premises
  • Solution or symptom?
  • References
  • The work of UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in strengthening lifelong learning through National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs): Madhu Singh
  • 1. UIL’s approach and methodology for sharing learning across countries
  • ‘Policy dialogue and ‘bench-learning’
  • 2. The conceptual framework: A multilevel understanding of lifelong learning harnessing both bottom-up and top-down approaches
  • The interfaces and synergies between formal, non-formal and informal learning: Key terms within lifelong learning
  • Implementation of lifelong learning from a multi-level perspective
  • 3. Overview of NQF developments in UIL’s survey of 34 countries
  • 4. UIL’s policy framework for strengthening lifelong learning
  • a) Improving progression pathways between different subsystems of the education and training sector and between formal, non-formal and informal learning
  • b) Strengthening the foundations of lifelong learning: Establishing pathways and transitions for marginalised groups at the basic level
  • c) Establishing NQF reference points for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning
  • d) Expanding the notion of learning outcomes and competences to include other areas of human capabilities beyond productive skills
  • e) Delivery of learning outcomes-based approaches and the recognition and validation of all forms of learning
  • f) Role and responsibilities of stakeholders in enhancing lifelong learning
  • g) The reorientation of education and training towards a diversified and integrated lifelong learning system – utilising other learning environments and forms of learning
  • 5. Conclusions, lessons learned, challenges
  • References
  • Youth skill development in Nepal: An approach to human security and sustainable peace: Poorna Kanta Adhikary
  • Introduction
  • 1. Youth, education and the labour market in Nepal
  • 1.1 Unskilled and unemployed youth in political transition
  • 1.2 The link between poverty and lack of skills
  • 1.3 Relation between education and employment
  • 2. Vocational skill development and policy learning in Nepal
  • 2.1 International experience in TVET development
  • 2.2 Nepal’s national experience in TVET development
  • 3. An innovation in youth skills development for economic peacebuilding
  • 3.1 Skills for economic peace-building and human security
  • 3.2 Potential for NVQF development
  • 3.3 NVQF for human security and sustainable peace
  • References
  • The revolutionary scope of qualifications frameworks and their limitations on the ground: Reflections on the model used in development cooperation and its implementation in Sri Lanka: Markus Maurer
  • 1. Global diffusion of a super macro curriculum reform
  • 2. Why qualifications frameworks are so appealing
  • 2.1 A brief look at the history of VSD in development cooperation
  • 2.2 The re-emergence of VSD and the diffusion of NQF
  • 2.3 The revolutionary scope of NQF
  • 3. The case of the Sri Lankan qualifications framework: Rationale and implementation at the local level
  • 3.1 The growth of vocational education and training in Sri Lanka
  • 3.2 The development of the Sri Lankan qualifications framework
  • 3.3 The implementation of the Sri Lankan NQF: A national level and an industry-specific view
  • 4. Conclusions
  • References
  • Promises unfulfilled and (still) counting casualties: Embedded interests and the NQF in South Africa: Salim Akoojee
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. NQF buy-in: Between labour, business and government
  • 2.1 Labour and the NQF
  • 2.2 Employer interests
  • 2.3 Government and policy-makers
  • 3. Implementation, pitfalls and perils
  • 3.1 The rocky road of implementation
  • 3.2 Pitfalls and Perils
  • 4. System retention and resilience
  • Embedded interest
  • 5. Conclusion
  • References
  • The Indian approach to skill certification: Rashmi Agrawal
  • Introduction
  • Country’s skill scenario
  • Existing skill development system
  • Indian skill certification
  • The present system
  • Problems in the current TVET certification system
  • New initiatives in skill development and certification
  • National policy on skill development
  • New institutional structure
  • Recognition of prior learning and quality issues
  • New skill certification system
  • National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework
  • Delivery mechanism
  • Challenges ahead
  • References
  • Meandering through policy development: Observations on vocational education and training in Albania: Matthias Jäger
  • Introduction
  • Historical development of the VET system in Albania
  • Building blocks for VET systems design
  • VET providers
  • Status of VET providers
  • Legislation
  • Types and levels of vocational programmes and courses
  • National VET Council
  • National VET Agency
  • Albanian qualifications framework
  • National VET strategy
  • International support
  • Observations on implementation
  • The Albanian qualifications framework
  • Lessons learnt on policy development
  • Lesson 1 – Policy development has different dimensions
  • Lesson 2 – Awareness of ‘deficits’ is a pre-condition for policy development
  • Lesson 3 – Policy development requires a culture of exchange and debate
  • Lesson 4 – Exchange and debate require platforms
  • Lesson 5 – Policy development requires stakeholder participation and functioning interfaces
  • Lesson 6 – Internationals need to review their role and approaches
  • Lesson 7 – Policy development requires a vision
  • Quintessence
  • References
  • Part Three: Transfer of the dual model of vocational skills development
  • Development cooperation in the field of vocational education and training – The dual system as a global role model?: Philipp Gonon
  • Criteria for the export of dual apprenticeship models or the “Dual System”
  • (1) Dual apprenticeship model and the readiness of companies to train (company criterion)
  • (2) Dual apprenticeship model and schooling (school criterion)
  • (3) Dual apprenticeship model as a formalised model (formal law criterion)
  • (4) Dual apprenticeship model refers to codified, scientific knowledge (formalised knowledge criterion)
  • (5) Dual apprenticeship model as a cooperative model (governance criterion)
  • (6) Dual apprenticeship model as a model related to vocational practice (vocational practice criterion)
  • (7) Dual apprenticeship model as a career-relevant model (meritocratic principle)
  • Historical attempts at introducing dual models of vocational training
  • Current attempts at introducing dual models of vocational training
  • On the exportability and sustainability of dual models of vocational training
  • References
  • The transfer of dual vocational training: Experiences from German development cooperation: Reinhard Stockmann
  • Introduction
  • Studies evaluated
  • What do we know about the success of these measures and what are the reasons for this?
  • Which factors are seen as responsible for the low success rate in the dual projects?
  • Conclusion
  • List of sources
  • References
  • Adapting the dual system of vocational education and training: Rudolf Batliner
  • Introduction
  • The Swiss Dual Apprenticeship System
  • 1. Division of labour and responsibilities between private sector and state
  • 2. Two places for learning – primacy of practice over theory
  • 3. Lifelong learning and access to tertiary education
  • 4. Vocational counselling at secondary school
  • Experiences with Dual Apprenticeship Schemes in Nicaragua, Philippines, Bolivia und Burkina Faso
  • Vocational Education and Training – where the worlds of work and education meet
  • Considerations regarding the development of VET Systems and dual apprenticeship schemes
  • References
  • The ‘need’ approach for curriculum development in the TVET cooperation with developing countries – CBET meets work-process oriented curriculum design: Stefan Wolf
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Procedures of curriculum-development in international TVET cooperation
  • 2.1 On the compatibility of the German approach for the development of the curricula
  • 2.2 Competence Based Education and Training
  • 2.2.1 CBET in developing and emerging countries
  • 2.2.2 The approach for the CBET-concept
  • 2.3 Work-process oriented curriculum development
  • 2.4 Comparison of both procedures
  • 3. The WEB-TT project
  • 3.1 Goals and approaches of the WEB-TT project
  • 3.2 The didactic-methodical concept of ‘training measures’
  • 4. Summary and conclusion
  • References
  • Result-based payment systems in vocational skills development: Siroco Messerli
  • Pay for results, not activities
  • Employment is the result
  • Pre-conditions for success
  • Learning from experience
  • References
  • Part Four: Epilogue
  • Are the dual system and qualifications frameworks compatible with each other?: Christopher Winch
  • Introduction
  • Key characteristics of the Dual System and the Beruf concept
  • The Dual System
  • The Beruf concept
  • Qualifications frameworks
  • The value of comparison
  • Learning outcomes
  • Learning outcomes and levels of consideration: Sectoral and occupational frameworks
  • Modularity, credit accumulation and compatibility
  • Credit accumulation and transfer
  • Conclusion: The value of outcomes-based qualifications
  • References

Notes on contributors

POORNA ADHIKARY is the director of the Institute for Conflict Management, Peace and Development in Kathmandu.

RASHMI AGRAWAL is a director of the Institute of Applied Manpower Research as autonomous organisation functioning under the aegis of India’s Planning Commission.

SALIM AKOOJEE is honorary associate professor (education) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and international consultant on TVET and skills development.

STEPHANIE ALLAIS is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Researching Education and Labour of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

RUDOLF BATLINER is senior scientist at the Centre for Development Studies (NADEL) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

MICHEL CARTON is retired professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

PHILIPP GONON is professor of vocational education at the University of Zurich.

MATTHIAS JÄGER is country representative for Swisscontact in Albania.

KENNETH KING is emeritus professor in the School of Education and also School of Social and Political Studies of the University of Edinburgh.

MARKUS MAURER is professor of vocational education at the Zurich University of Teacher Education.

SIROCO MESSERLI is deputy director of cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh. ← 11 | 12 →

MADHU SINGH is senior programme specialist at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg.

REINHARD STOCKMANN is professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Evaluation (CEval) at the Saarland University.

CHRISTOPHER WINCH is professor of educational philosophy and policy at the King’s College in London.

STEFAN WOLF is assistant professor of vocational education at the Technical University in Berlin. ← 12 | 13 →

Part One

Reflecting on policy transfer in vocational skills development

← 13 | 14 → ← 14 | 15 →


The challenges of policy transfer in vocational skills development: An introduction1

Recently, after some years in which general education was accorded the most importance in development policy and research, the role of vocational education and training (nowadays often referred to as “vocational skills development” in the literature) has been given a greater degree of importance. Parallel to this re-emerging interest in vocational skills is the widespread practice of transferring VSD policies and models to developing countries, particularly as part of development cooperation. It is the main objective of this book to analyse this practice of VSD model transfer, with a particular focus on two specific models: the Dual Model of Vocational Training, and National Qualifications Frameworks.

In order to provide a theoretical context to the book, we first, discuss key terms and relevant debates in comparative education, and make some brief notes on the history of policy transfer in vocational skills development. This is followed by an overview of all the chapters in the book.

1.The re-emergence of TVET and the role of policy transfer

The development of vocational and technical skills and competencies has clearly become more important in the international arena during the last couple of years. On the one hand, the economic crisis and its ← 15 | 16 → consequences for labour markets have forced governments to launch programmes that strengthen labour market-oriented skills, either among those leaving the education and training system, or among those affected by unemployment. On the other hand, skills development has become more important in international cooperation, a trend that is clearly documented in the rising number of global reports on vocational skills and their role in economic growth and social inclusion (King 2013). The latter is mainly a consequence of the fact that the international community’s approach to development cooperation had focused strongly on promoting basic education since the 1990s, but has now become more concerned about the delicate transition process through which young, educated individuals are supposed to move into labour markets. In the context of this re-emerging interest in the development of vocational and technical skills, there has also been a shift in terminology, particularly in the world of international cooperation: whereas, previously, policy makers and experts alike talked about “Technical Vocational Education and Training” (TVET) or, depending on the context, on “Technical Vocational Education” (TVE), the current discourse centres more around “Vocational Skills Development” (VSD) (King & Palmer 2007). This term suggests that it is important to look at the entire range of education and training processes, be they formal, non-formal or informal, that lead to vocational skills. This notion stands in contrast, particularly, to TVE, a concept mainly focused on the formal provision of technical and vocational competencies and skills, i. e. on those programmes that lead to nationally recognised qualifications. VSD is, thus, supposed to be more open, particularly to what is often called the “skill needs” of the poor and of informal labour markets.

In today’s highly globalised world it would be surprising if governments and their experts, whether operating in economically highly or less highly developed contexts, tried to resolve the challenges of technical and vocational education by developing context-specific solutions from scratch. Rather, they virtually always try – as in most other domains of public policy – not to “re-invent the wheel”, and therefore look for models and best practices that have worked elsewhere. Similar to individuals who copy the behaviour of others in everyday life, organisations or political entities (e. g. nation states) ← 16 | 17 → often propose changes or reforms that are built on models developed by other organisations or political entities. Policy transfer today is, thus, a very common phenomenon in the world of education and skills development, and certainly not a new one: during the late 19th century, for instance, when competition between the industrialising states in Europe was moving towards a dangerous climax, countries were eagerly observing not only each other’s technological advances but also the innovations of others in the domain of education and training, with many such observations leading to reforms and political initiatives in the field of what later was to be termed TVET or VSD (Gonon 2009, 2011).

Today, policy transfer in TVET is particularly being driven by international organisations, such as the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) (whose suggestions are mainly directed to its mostly wealthy member states) or the International Labour Office (ILO) and the European Training Foundation (ETF), which are in the position to influence global discourse and implement a wide range of projects, also (though not exclusively) in developing and transition countries (European Training Foundation 2010; Field, Hoeckel, Kis & Kuczera 2009; ILO 2012). What is interesting, here, is that the World Bank, the world’s most important donor in development cooperation and, from the 1960s until the 1980s, an important proponent and funder of TVET programmes, is largely absent from this discourse, mainly because its strategy still emphasises the crucial importance of key competencies in literacy, numeracy, science and technology (Collins & Wiseman 2012; World Bank 2010, 2011).

As we are of the view that policy transfer can only be analysed by focusing on specific models that are subject to transfer, as well as by re-examining the concept itself, the book consists mostly of chapters dedicated to national qualifications frameworks and to the dual model of vocational education and training. These two models are particularly relevant for their own specific reasons: the first has undergone a tremendous world-wide diffusion; whilst the second is perceived by many governments to be an important means to more actively involve the world of work in skills development. ← 17 | 18 →

2.Policy transfer and diffusion in the comparative education literature

Policy transfer is, as we have noted above, a very common phenomenon in the fields of TVET or VSD respectively. In line with Dolowitz and Marsh (1996, p. 344), we look at it as “a process in which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangements, institutions etc. in one time and/or place is used in the development of policies, administrative arrangements and institutions in another time and/or place”. The focus here, then, is on knowledge of two concepts or models, both of which have originated in a particular set of countries and are then being used in other countries.

In comparative education, reflections on policy transfer, i. e. on the extent to which policies and models from specific contexts can be used in other contexts, have a long tradition (Schriewer, 2000). However, some of the more recent body of comparative education literature on policy transfer has been clearly inspired by the neo-institutionalist perspectives that analyse the global expansion of formal schooling as a diffusion process (Meyer & Ramirez 2009; Meyer, Ramirez & Nuhoglu Soysal 1992). Neo-institutionalist studies, like other analyses of policy diffusion processes, are mainly concerned with the paths of these processes and aim at explaining variations in terms of scope and speed among different diffusion processes (Lütz 2007, p. 133). In contrast to this approach, analyses of educational transfer focus on the process of transfer itself, which is considered to be driven by countries or individual actors who have very specific motives to engage in borrowing and lending of policy models. Steiner-Khamsi (2003), for instance, argues that, on the one hand, borrowing policies or models from other contexts can be a strategy for policy makers to legitimise potentially contested educational reforms, whilst on the other hand, lending countries benefit from educational policy transfer through increased international as well as domestic legitimacy of their own education and training policies and models.2 ← 18 | 19 →

A further focus of debates in comparative education is on the fact that straightforward transfer of policies and models as such is generally not possible, mainly as implementation contexts differ in terms of political organisation, culture, economy and many other domains from those contexts where the “original models” have evolved. Thus, transfer processes often result in hybrid or indigenised education and training models that may only partly resemble the originals, and whose social consequences may strongly differ from the ones that policy makers originally had in mind (Schriewer 2000, 2012). This argument is particularly important for the transfer of models in the field of TVET, as the different ways in which vocational skills and competencies are acquired in specific geographical contexts are strongly interrelated, not only with the education and training systems, but also with the structure of labour markets and with the formal and informal regulations that underlie the functioning of these markets.

Considering such aspects of policy implementation, some contributors to comparative political and educational science have also pointed to processes of policy design and implementation that feature characteristics of learning processes (Fleckenstein 2011; Jakobi 2012; King 2012; McGrath & Lugg 2012; Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith 1993; Solow 1997; Zito & Schout 2009). In such cases of policy learning, decision makers, in the process of crafting policies or regulations for different domains of society, see the need for adapting foreign models to local contexts and are conscious not only of factors that could influence the implementation process but also of the success factors that supported the development of the model in the original context. Furthermore, processes of policy learning are characterised by flexible approaches to policy implementation. Such approaches include constant reflections on how to improve the match between policies and local contexts, be it in reaction to implementation difficulties, or to signs that the original policy design may not lead to the intended results. For development cooperation, approaches that value the role of policy are particularly relevant, as, far too often, local actors who are familiar with the respective context are not the key drivers of policy design and implementation – a fact that clearly hinders local ownership of development efforts. ← 19 | 20 →

3.Development of a global toolkit for vocational skills development

Undoubtedly, one of the key lessons of the comparative education literature on policy transfer is that the structures of today’s education systems the world over have, since the beginning of their expansion, been strongly affected by policy borrowing (Meyer & Ramirez 2009; Schriewer & Martinez 2004). Though many authors argue that TVET systems, particularly in Western Europe, are very country-specific, the structure of many of these systems today has been shaped by models that were developed in other geographical contexts. The development of Swiss vocational education and training in the late 19th century, for instance, was strongly influenced by developments not only in Germany but also in France, which strengthened more school-based forms of vocational education (Gonon 2011).

While in European and other traditionally economically highly developed countries the implementation of other countries’ models in the field of vocational education and training has mainly been promoted by local actors, many other countries have experienced a more dominant role of external stakeholders. This is true for some countries that, today, are lauded for their VSD systems, e. g. South Korea and Singapore. In the early decades after World War II, these countries developed their VSD systems under the aegis of Western governments that politically dominated them (Ashton, Green, James & Sung 1999). Today, however, South Korea is a strong promoter of school-based forms of vocational education and training in Asian developing countries (Park 2012), whereas the Singaporean skills development fund has become a reference model for the involvement of the private sector in financing of training (Kuruvilla, Erikson & Hwang, 2002).

Clearly different is the situation of those developing countries in which development cooperation is still strongly involved in expanding and improving education and training; where current TVET systems have been mainly established on the basis of structures that were established during the colonial era, e. g. by the British or the ← 20 | 21 → French. In many parts of South Asia, for instance, the British established technical training centres catering to specific industries or to public works departments or allowed missionaries to establish vocational training centres for the poor. This strategy clearly reflected the British approach to vocational education and training at home (Deissinger 1992; Green 1995). As the colonisers, however, generally did not put much emphasis on expanding TVET, such structures and programmes were mainly developed after political independence, and were often crafted along the lines of the established systems in the homelands of their former colonisers. In countries of former French West Africa, for instance, programmes of technical education were copied from France, including curricula and denominations of certificates (Kaboré, Kobiané, Pilon, Sanou & Sanou 2001).

Today, with most developing countries having established structures and programmes to develop vocational skills among students and the labour force, the question is not about building TVET systems from scratch. But as the challenges of VSD systems are, at least on the surface, comparable across countries, policy makers and experts alike have started to refer to models and policy approaches that promise to serve as remedies for these difficulties. McGrath (2012), for instance, argues that the new emergence of VSD at the global level has led to the adoption of a global toolkit which spreads across the globe. Such tools are available for virtually any aspect of VSD systems, be it for curriculum development, financing and governance of TVET, approaches to instruction and learning, or teacher and instructor training, just to name a few.

As in other domains of public policy, many tools are widely discussed and implemented only during a limited number of years and then disappear again. One such early element of the emerging global toolkit for VSD was (until the late 1970s) that of manpower planning and forecasting, which was supposed to link the development of human resources in specific economic sectors to the anticipated growth in these sectors (Edwards 1983; Psacharopoulos 1991). Today, only a few governments make explicit reference to this tool, but the approach still influences planning of TVET in many countries, particularly those that rely on school-based forms of training (see e. g. Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission 2006). ← 21 | 22 →

The key challenge of the global toolkit for VSD is that many of its elements are resistant to straightforward transfer, as they require a number of preconditions that are often absent in the contexts to which these models are being transferred. For this reason, the effects produced by using elements of the toolkit are often not in line with political aspirations. It would, therefore, be important, particularly in development cooperation, to focus more strongly on policy learning that also includes critical reflection on the limited transferability of policy models in VSD (e. g. Chakroun 2010; Nielsen 2010).

4.The politics of transferring policy models in VSD

Any analysis of policy transfer in VSD must be based on an understanding of why the different actors get involved in borrowing and lending policies and models. In many ways, the causes here are the same as the ones in economically more developed countries: when, for whatever reasons, reforms in the field of VSD become a priority of education and training policies, something needs to be done, and often quite quickly. The focus of policy making is then on key challenges of VSD systems, namely, on problems related to the transition of young people into the labour market, the lack of relevance of their skills to employers, and also the heterogeneity of VSD systems, in which often a large number of uncoordinated training providers offer even less coordinated skill development programmes. As many other countries are facing similar challenges and are launching reforms to cope with them, it is obvious to policy makers that they need to look for solutions that seem to have worked elsewhere. This strategy is particularly relevant for countries with highly centralised TVET systems that leave little room for autonomous developments that could be scaled up.

However, in developing countries with access to funds from multi- and bilateral aid, the dynamics of development cooperation play a key role in the transfer process, too. All development agencies (be they development banks or bilateral donors) have their own aid priorities that make funds available for specific policy areas. Thus, ← 22 | 23 → just to take an example, though Bangladesh and Sri Lanka decided to strengthen vocational education and training in the mid-1990s, there were virtually no funds available to implement this strategy, and the reforms initiated were criticised by observing donor agencies. A decade later, with donor interest in VSD on the rise again, funds were available, and were, unsurprisingly, used for reforms in line with these donors’ policy strategies (Maurer 2012b).

Particularly in the case of bilateral donors with funds originating from one single country, policy priorities in VSD can reflect the VSD models of those donor countries. This was the case with the vocational education and training projects funded by Germany for several decades, based mainly on the German dual model (Greinert, Heitmann, Stockmann & Vest 1997; Stockmann & Silvestrini 2013). Such a strategy is certainly based on ideological motives, i. e. on the conviction that a model that is considered successful in the lending country and represents some of its central values will also help to improve VSD systems in other countries. However, as is the case with Germany and Switzerland today, there is also the political ambition to export a model in order to reduce pressure from within the country and from abroad to adapt the model to other policy models (Maurer 2012a; Maurer & Gonon 2013; Niediek 2013). Another, quite pragmatic motive for donors to export a model from their country of origin is a more economic one – their domestic service providers, as experts in VSD design and implementation (mainly consultants), will be placed in an advantageous position vis-à-vis service providers of the recipient country, which are not similarly familiar with the policy model (Gibson, Andersson, Ostrom & Shivakumar, 2005).


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (November)
training systems systematic combination global interest
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 363 pp., num. fig. and tables

Biographical notes

Markus Maurer (Volume editor) Philipp Gonon (Volume editor)

Markus Maurer is professor of vocational education at the Zurich University of Teacher Education. His research mainly focuses on implementation of vocational education policies. Philipp Gonon has held the Chair of Vocational Education and Training and Teacher Training at the University of Zurich since 2004. Gonon’s main research areas are the Comparative and Historical Perspectives on Vocational Education.


Title: The Challenges of Policy Transfer in Vocational Skills Development
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