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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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Same, but different – The Emergence of VET in three Nordic Countries


Abstract: Historically, apprenticeship has developed very differently in the three Nordic Countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, either as a dual system in a separate track (Denmark), as an integrated part of upper secondary education (Norway) or as having almost disappeared (Sweden). The purpose of this chapter is to explore the roots of these differences in the period after the deregulation of apprenticeship caused by the dissolution of the guilds. In this period, from the mid-19th century until 1945, we examine how the three VET-systems responded to two common challenges for VET. The first challenge was how to develop new forms of regulations to safeguard a high quality of apprenticeship training and to secure an adequate number of training placements. The second challenge was how to provide the new “theoretical” qualifications required by production in the period of rapid industrialisation – and how the emergent vocational schools should connect with work based learning and apprenticeship. We find that a decisive factor for the survival or decline of apprenticeship in the three countries was the position of the labour market organisations towards the proposals for state regulation of apprenticeship. Another crucial difference in the three countries was whether vocational schools developed as an integrated part of apprenticeship to supplement work-based learning or whether vocational schools developed as a parallel system, and eventually as competitors, to apprenticeship.

1.  Introduction

The three Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, face a number of common challenges to the future development...

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