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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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Seeking Models: Germany or France? Where the Paradise of Vocational Training was to be found in 1860–1940


Abstract: Since the mid-19th century, debates on vocational training in France have centred on foreign models and in particular on the German model. The 1864–1865 Commission of Professional Education sent scouts to the principal German and Austrian states in order to study the structure, the philosophy and the efficiency of their industrial and commercial professional teaching. After the 1871 defeat the prestige of the German teaching model increased even more. The administrations in charge of technical education focused on creating professional courses for apprentices based on the model of the German Fortbildungsschulen. A new inquiry journey organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Paris in 1909 pressed for establishing compulsory professional courses for apprentices that were finally created in 1919. As the historiography on the subject generally underlines the failure of the law, its enforcement of the German model has to be questioned.

If the issue is education, and especially technical education, the French governments since the beginning of the 19th century, whatever the political regime is, behave like an indiscreet neighbour leering over the garden fence in order to find out if there the grass is greener or the blossoming more luxurious (Grelon, Karvar & Gouzevitch 2004; Matasci 2015). At the beginning of the 19th century it was rather interested in the left-hand neighbour, it was Britain that it tried to copy. Then, from the July Monarchy on, it began to observe the various neighbours to the right, the different German states. After the...

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