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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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VET Producing Second Class Citizens? Comparative Analyses of the VET and Tertiary Education Nexus (Lorenz Lassnigg / Stefan Vogtenhuber)


← 410 | 411 →


VET Producing Second Class Citizens? Comparative Analyses of the VET and Tertiary Education Nexus

1.  Introduction

In summer 2016 the Austrian conference about VET research was organised under the heading of a “Renaissance of VET?”.1 Several facets of VET were mentioned in the outline of the conference: innovation, employment, participation, advancement, prosperity…; however an important aspect of education was missing: citizenship and demo­cracy. In the Germanic tradition, VET has been situated at the secondary level and was always juxtaposed markedly against higher education, with VET having a highly instrumental and useful mission, whereas higher education, based on elitist academic secondary school (Gymnasium) has been related to the higher ranks of the society and polity, and to “real” education (Bildung). Consequently an old common saying in the social democratic policy discourse about the relationship of vocational and (elitist academic) general education has been that general education were the vocational education of those dominating society (die Berufsbildung der Herrschenden). A solution for these class divisions was seen in an extended amalgamation of general and vocational education by an enrichment of VET with general content.2 In Germany the division between VET and higher education has been even called the education-(Bildungs)-schism, and vocational pedagogy has tried to reframe the education policy discourse by including a vocation as ← 411 | 412 → constitutive element of real general education (Bildung). Higher education and VET has been strictly separated in...

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