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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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There Is No Outside to the System: Paternalism and Protest in Swiss Vocational Education and Training, 1950–1980


Abstract: In the German-speaking world, historical research on vocational education and training has largely ignored the voice of apprentices. While historians of education are mainly interested in the corporatist organisation of vocational education policy, the historiography of social movements sees the protest by apprentices largely as appendages of the youth and student movement. Our paper focuses on how apprentices articulated their needs and aspirations between 1950 and 1980. We assume that the specific paternalistic organization of Swiss vocational education in the form of apprenticeships consistently affected their behaviour. On the one hand, the paternalistic setting of master and apprentice impeded the autonomous articulation of interests by apprentices themselves. As soon as protest flared up, it was immediately absorbed. Because of public attention the system was, on the other hand, in fact able to address and solve urgent problems.

1.  Introduction

It is a commonplace in education research that special forms of youth protest developed in the 1960s and 1970s. These decades are regarded to this day as a time of radical new beginnings, when conditions at universities and secondary schools, but also in closed reformatories, were made subject to criticism and questioning and were subsequently changed. This topos is strongly linked with the self-concept of a whole generation of educationalists, school teachers and social workers. To this day, it shapes the self-concept of the profession and the discipline as a critical and progressive social science.

The topics people choose for historical self-reassurance...

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