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Shaping the Futures of (Vocational) Education and Work

Commitment of VET and VET Research


Gabriele Molzberger and Manfred Wahle

Education and work are moving towards an open, but uncertain future. Research on vocational and continuing education constantly needs to reassure the conditions of educational systems, current concepts of VET and work, educational policies, and its own assumptions in ascertaining theory of VET. In this context, modernisation is a significant paradigm. It refers to new ideological, socio-economic, structural and institutional qualities.
This volume analyses interdependencies and complexities of research, politics and practice of vocational, further and continuing education. With contributions from European VET researchers it assembles critical reflective, empirical, cross-cultural and historical perspectives. The volume discusses the dynamic changes of work and education both in regional and global labour markets. Central issues are transformations of vocational education and work, the impacts of gender, ethnicity, culture and globalization as well as the anticipation of possible futures of vocational education and work.
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Vocational Schooling in Elberfeld and Barmen: 1880–1912. Historical and Local Perspectives on Vocational Education and Training


1.  Introduction

If history serves as a master teacher or in better words, if historical incidents are used for better understanding and interpretation of current problems, the following premise is suitable. At all times social, economic, political and cultural as well as vocational training phenomena have also been historical phenomena. Today’s society, its composition, its structures and institutions, its potentials and opportunities as well as its problems and challenges are being handed down by history. Existing social structures certainly do not originate out of themselves. They are influenced by the specific historical interests of particular economic groups within the changing terms of contemporary history. They can also be altered by and through these same interests. This connection between the past and the present also applies for research on vocational education and training (VET). Just as other tasks of society, VET is affected by history. Its function and its current condition as well as its prospects depend on the one hand on social-economic conditions, and on the other hand on configurations concerning economics, certain interests of different stakeholders, power and training policy, which have been developed through the historical process of constant changes.

Today’s theory and practice of VET adapt historical inputs which refer in particular to individual qualifications. So, they refer to the notion of occupation and work as constitutive elements of human existence as well as to the notion of an adequate organisation of vocational training (Pätzold et al. 2000; Wahle 2007)...

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