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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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Cross-Cultural Perspective in Shaping the Future of Vocational Education


1.  Education, Education, Education – Future, Future, Future!

Researchers of education have been loaded with vested interests on education as “the” key to whatever ambitions, which individual, regions, nation-states or work-organisations and companies may have in the globalising world. Reflections and references to cultural and historical aspects might sell on the global academic and education policy-markets, if researchers were able to wrap them into easily digestible and transferable package. However, presumably quite many of “us” at the shop floor of academic work, share the feeling of seldom – if ever – having been recognised for the labour we have done in finding sources, developing interpretations, providing evidence for practical and political decisions. Furthermore, while working in the academy, researchers are more or less forced to accept the normative or policy-led character of their discipline or field of study. Culturally and historically important is, firstly, how this is related to interpretations about education as a discipline: is it conceived as an autonomous subject in research and study; and secondly, how this is related to wider conceptions about academy and science and their relation to policy and practice.

The contemporary hectic in the academy undermines heavily any historically-oriented argumentation about the future of education. However, since researchers by no means can keep the track of “permanent, accelerating change”, could they react by collaboratively refusal from the imposed “presentism”1 and remain slow and backward-looking in ← 233 | 234 → their statements and search for long-term interpretations also when referring to future...

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