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Vocational Education beyond Skill Formation

VET between Civic, Industrial and Market Tensions

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Edited By Fernando Marhuenda-Fluixá

Vocational education and training has played an important role in the struggles between Work and Capital along history and today; there are examples of such tensions worldwide. The first section of this book provides illustrations of different countries from the 18th to the early 20th century. The authors explain and exemplify the education of the workforce and its political engagement, contributing to the formation of the working class. The chapters provide relevant approaches to how young apprentices and adult workers developed a class consciousness through vocational education. The second section illustrates practices of resistance and transformation within policies and practices of vocational education nowadays in Central and Southern Europe and South America, addressing the needs of people with disabilities and dispossessed populations. The final section analyses how theories and policies intertwine resulting in the idiosyncrasy of vocational education practices across the world, through tensions between logics and institutional actors. The book addresses the political dimensions of Vocational Education and problematizes its mere consideration as an instrumental tool in skill formation.

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Citizenship and Participation: Apprenticeship as a Political Issue in the Swiss VET-Debate of the 1970s / 80s (Esther Berner)

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ESTHER BERNER

Citizenship and Participation: Apprenticeship as a Political Issue in the Swiss VET-Debate of the 1970s / 80s

1.  Introduction

The post-obligatory educational offers in Switzerland are characterised by a strong focus on professional qualifications. Even today, three out of four diplomas awarded at this level are vocational certificates (Cortesi & Imdorf 2013). Thereby, the vocational education in the company and in the vocational school is of significant importance. In 2014, 90% of all learners in vocational education in Switzerland began their basic vocational training in a programme that took place simultaneously in the company and in the vocational school (Swiss Federal Statistical Office 2016a).

This dual model of vocational education and training (VET) enjoys high esteem in Switzerland. In retrospect, there were just two occasions when the advantages of this model were seriously questioned and alternative forms of organization of VET were brought into play: once in the late 19th century, i.e. in the early stage of the institutionalization of VET, the second time in the 1970s and 80s on the backdrop of a broader emancipatory-critical discourse (Gonon & Müller 1982; Berner 2012). As a counter-model served each time the training in (public) apprenticeship workshops. The proponents argued that this type of training was superior because it facilitated a systematic training under educational criteria and without productivity constraints. In both cases technological changes in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution or the Third Industrial...

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