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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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Negotiating the Pedagogical Value of School and Work – A Historical Perspective on Pedagogical Development in Swedish VET


Abstract: The first vocational education and training in Sweden funded and regulated by the government came into being by way of two reforms in the early 20th century. The pedagogical imperative of this system, consisting of different types of school and education, was work. At the beginning of the 20th century work was still believed to harbour pedagogical qualities. This changed in 1971, when VET was integrated in the upper secondary school system. The point of departure for pedagogical thought shifted from the logics of work to the logics of school. In this article I illustrate this shift by examining the pedagogical practice of diligence allowance. The practice was firmly rooted in the tradition of work but did not survive the transition from work-based to school-based vocational education in 1971. The pedagogical value of diligence allowance and the renegotiation of this value are in the focus of investigation. The theoretical framework as well as the analytical tools used are inspired by Johan Asplund’s concept of “figures of thought”. This makes visible the pedagogical thinking and doing as an important force in the development of VET. It also provides a way to capture and describe the dynamic between two structures constitutional to modern vocational education and training – school and work.

1.  Introduction

Educational change is a subject of importance for understanding problems and challenges in vocational education and training. A historical perspective on educational change reveals that what appears to be recurring issues – such as...

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