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Vocational Education beyond Skill Formation

VET between Civic, Industrial and Market Tensions


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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Civic and Market Convention as Driving Forces of the Development of Swiss VET (Lea Zehnder / Philipp Gonon)


← 270 | 271 →


Civic and Market Convention as Driving Forces of the Development of Swiss VET1

As in most countries, the trigger for establishing educational systems in the 19th century was the aim to build up nations. Such efforts did not only focus on primary schooling but were extended to all forms of education, from kindergarten to university. Thus, also post-elementary enrolment experienced a considerable growth. The “liberal legacy”, as Andy Green puts it, also included, besides ideological hegemony, openness towards industrial needs (Green 1992, p. 308). Exactly this setting is also the starting point of our contribution in this volume and the line of depicting the development of the Swiss educational system and its vocational education and training (VET). Our arguments are based on a sociological theory of conventions, that the establishment of local and federal amendments and legislations which supported VET had a strong civic notion, but also included the option of a well-organised industrial society. Within such a setting the educated worker is nowadays able to pursue a professional career. Thus, the development of Swiss VET ended up in a compromise of different claims related to the state, the industry and the market, hybridizing the educational system. ← 271 | 272 →

1.  Historical premises

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