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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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Vocational Education: For Livelihood, Knowledge or Companionship?

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Abstract: Historical descriptions and interpretations of education typically focus on a certain way of education which may promote a-historical and hegemonic interpretations of education itself. This is especially true for vocational education, which is contextually and institutionally more diverse than academic and popular education. A cross-cultural understanding of the meaning of vocational education may require that researchers reflect on how it is shaping in relation to other forms of education, in distinctive geo-economic and -political contexts, with their transforming mutual dependencies. As an example, this chapter suggests that the distinctiveness of vocational education in Finland, Britain and Germany in the period of time of the 1860s-1960s might relate to wider struggles on the aims and functions of education, which were vital for the respective geo-economic and -political situations. In order to avoid any development of closed universalist models, and to proceed into a cross-cultural understanding, researchers should share initial data and develop hypotheses collaboratively.

1.  Towards a contextualized, holistic and polylogical approach

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