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History of Vocational Education and Training in Europe

Cases, Concepts and Challenges

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Edited By Esther Berner and Philipp Gonon

Understanding today’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems requires a comprehension of the rise and development, i.e. of the foundations of topical VET. This book provides a comparative view of its development in Europe. The contributions of renowned authors give insight into conceptual questions, cases and challenges in this field.

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The Social Conventions of Guidance as a Major Component of Lifelong Learning Systems. A French-Danish-British Comparison

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Abstract: The European Union promotes lifelong learning among its member states. For several reasons, guidance is becoming a major component of VET policies. Also the societal contextualisation of this European recommendation is a major challenge for both the European strategy and the sociological analysis. Against this background this chapter presents the social conventions characterising the ideal-typical regimes of lifelong learning, with particular emphasis on the role of guidance schemes as interface institutions between educational and training systems and their participants. By a second stage, it deals with national configurations which are influenced by increasingly diversified political orientations. The French situation provides a good example to be contrasted to the Danish and British models. In reality, each national guidance system is a composite, varying over time and space, of these different typical regimes and conventions.

1.  Introduction

The European Union, under the influence of the OECD, promotes the principle of lifelong guidance among its member states. In organisational terms, this involves encouraging the de-compartmentalisation of the multiple bodies – national, regional or local, concerned with education and training proper and/or the regulation of the labour market and/or access to further education and training – intervening in this field. Indeed, this Balkanisation generates an institutional complexity which contradicts the primary objective of the lifelong guidance approach, namely promoting the autonomy of individual choices. Beyond the question of definitions and perimeters, however, there emerges a more fundamental analytical issue, that of contextualisation. In other words, the impossibility of separating...

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