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History of Vocational Education and Training in Europe

Cases, Concepts and Challenges

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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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Solving the Crisis. VET as an Economic Policy (France, from the Long Depression to the Second Oil Crisis)

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Abstract: In modern France, economic crises have presented an opportunity for administrations to intervene directly in economic and social affairs. On these occasions, the system of vocational education and training was used as a policy tool to address the difficulties of the time, i.e. the necessity to revive the French industry during the Long Depression, the will to direct the workforce toward disadvantaged professional sectors during the crisis of the 1930s, and the requirement to facilitate the professional integration of young people into the labour market during the oil crises of the 1970s. This paper is thus concerned with the diversion of vocational training practices for the benefit of these issues, both at legislative and regulatory levels, as well as in a local context, provided by the industrial district of Saint-Étienne.

Highlighted through the works of Gary Becker (Becker 1993), the concept of human capital has turned the issue of education into one of the most relevant means for socioeconomic prosperity. Robert Lucas used human capital by applying it, not to individual career paths but rather to states (Lucas 1988). He modelled its influence on workers’ productivity, and as such on the economic growth of countries. However, neoclassical stances are particularly limited in their analysis of social phenomena and do not reflect the whole complexity of human rationality. They fail to explain how the different categories of collective actors involved in these processes are able to negotiate and create educational paths. A historical approach, on...

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