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History of Vocational Education and Training in Europe

Cases, Concepts and Challenges


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 Pathway to the Swiss Federal Vocational Baccalaureate


Abstract: This article provides a trajectory of the modern Swiss Vocational Education and Training System, based on the model of an interdisciplinary perspective of path dependence. A specific focus will be on the rise and establishment of the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate which converts the traditional and predominant apprenticeship-system in Switzerland into a more school-based scheme.

1.  Introduction – Path Dependence and the Development of VET Systems

In sociology and political sciences, but also in the field of education historical accounts in order to explain the existence and emergence of institutions have become more and more important. One way of explaining the topical educational framework today is the path-dependence approach. Path dependence studies share some common issues. In a broader sense, a lot of historians claim to do path-dependent research or deliver accounts of historical chains. But in the field of technological history, economy, political sciences and sociology, and more and more also in education this view represents a specific perspective and a model. “History matters” in this sense is more than a claim for stressing the importance of doing history. In the words of James Mahoneys’ contribution “Path dependence in historical sociology”, this approach stresses the importance of early events for later occurrences. The issue is, however, that the original claims which led to the foundation of a path are not those explaining the function of an institutional setting today. In order to understand a topical institution, it is mandatory to reconstruct the historical background,...

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