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Divergence and Convergence in Education and Work

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Edited By Vibe Aarkrog and Christian Helms Jørgensen

Are the educational systems in Europe becoming more similar or more different? This book deals with the issue of divergence and convergence in relation to systems, learning environments, and learners in vocational educational training (VET). 18 VET researchers from eight countries contribute to the examination of ‘divergence and convergence’ at three levels: At the national level this volume deals with the following questions: What are the consequences of the European policies that aim at converging the VET systems in Europe? What is the impact of globalization on the national systems? At the level of institutions the central issue concerns the relation between learning environments. What is the coherence between school-based education and learning in the work-place, and how can they connect? Finally at the third level of the learners and their identities the focus is on the role of vocational educational training in the formation of biographies and identities. The book thus covers the central issues on the agenda in relation to future vocational education.

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Introduction 9

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CHRISTIAN HELMS JØRGENSEN & VIBE AARKROG Introduction: Divergence and Convergence in education and work More and more separate national and local activities are brought together and are being compared as a consequence of the processes labelled globalization. Differences as well as similarities are brought out when disparate practices are connected. Systems of education and work are strongly subjected to these comparisons as transnational corporations pursue their Human Resource management across bor- ders, and as transnational labour markets bring together employees from separate cultures. In addition politicians increasingly make use of international comparisons and ratings to measure the perform- ance and ef ciency of educational systems and their contribution to economic growth and the modernization of work practices. A basic question that comes out of these comparisons and rat- ings is whether education and work in different localities and contexts are becoming more similar or more different. Are they diverging or converging? This is the general theme of this book. Divergence and convergence is examined in relation to three dimensions: 1. National models of vocational education, 2. Learning environments in education and work and 3. Identities of work and occupation. In this way the book covers central issues on the agenda in relation to the future of vocational education: The institutional framework as well as the social agents and the contexts of learning. The rst two themes are related, since the key difference between different national models of vocational education is the way they connect school-based and work-based learning. The third...

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