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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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Schools for Workers? Industrial and Artistic Industrial Schools in Italy (1861–1913)


Abstract: This paper aims at investigating the qualitative and quantitative history of industrial and artistic industrial schools in Italy between 1861 and 1913. It assesses their legislative evolution from a comparative and transnational perspective, focusing on Prussian and French influence on education. The political, social and cultural aims of educating and shaping workers’ identity by help of this kind of schools is highlighted through the analysis of booklets and official papers. However, a quantitative record of vocational regional enrolment shows the narrow dimension of this kind of school.

1.  Introduction

Even though it is relevant for understanding the relationship between industrialization and human capital accumulation, a history of industrial and artistic industrial education in Italy in the liberal age has not yet presented. In addition, no provincial or regional data about these kinds of schools have been available until now. Previous contributions have stated the vital role vocational education played in so-called follower countries, such as Germany and Sweden, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. An analysis of the Italian vocational education system will establish the basis for a comparison. This contribution attempts to analyse this topic, exploring politicians’ attitudes towards these industrial and artistic industrial schools and also their effectiveness when it comes to attracting potential students. The paper will proceed as follows. The first section sketches out the first steps the Italian government took in devising a vocational education system. The second section describes the legislative development from 1878 to 1914. The...

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