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Opening and Extending Vocational Education


Edited By Philipp Eigenmann, Philipp Gonon and Markus Weil

Vocational education has been opened up and extends to various directions: Higher education tends to take on vocational education models. Vice versa, vocational education development partially follows the structures of higher education. In addition, informal learning and recognition of competences widen the perspectives on vocational education. This book highlights a variety of developments and analyses from countries like Australia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, India, Ukraine and the United States, but also from a more global perspective. It reveals that regardless of national pathways a new shape of vocational education and educational provision with a specific focus on vocations, workplace and learning is emerging.

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Opening and Extending Vocational Education – An Introduction: (Philipp Eigenmann, Philipp Gonon and Markus Weil)


philipp eigenmann, philipp gonon and markus weil

Vocational education has always been subject to change due to its relation to several varying rationales, like education, economy or vocation. Vocational education cannot be reduced to skill formation, but rather it combines economic as well as educational and social functions in society. These somehow contradictory functions have to be permanently adapted and renegotiated. In this context, vocational education has been opened up and extended in various directions over time. Vocational education, in a broad sense, embraces apprenticeships and initial vocational education schemes, as well as further education and professional training settings. The different rationales and learning sites in enterprises, schools or educational providers could be addressed by the topic opening and extending vocational education. This means taking a broader view of contexts and histories by addressing transdisciplinary and intercultural aspects or by using multiperspective approaches.

In terms of opening and extending vocational education, different relations become apparent:

Firstly, higher education adopts vocational education models. Though primarily academic, higher education programmes of study increasingly include aspects of workplace learning. In this regard, higher education institutions collaborate with companies in order to meet their skill demands.

Secondly (and vice versa), vocational education development tends to adapt to structures of higher education. Rising skill demands in the labour market do not necessarily result in rising shares of higher education. Vocational education itself responds to this challenge by including academic approaches and adopting the logic of higher education...

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