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Shaping the Futures of (Vocational) Education and Work

Commitment of VET and VET Research

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Edited By 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 Education and Training in the Early 20th Century

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1.  Introduction

History of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Germany underwent some changes during the last decades. Albeit with some delay, history of pedagogy profited by approaches from social history during the 1970s/80s, like other disciplines. Hence, several studies (Blankertz 1969; Stratmann 1992) dealt with a critical analysis of the roots and development of the dual training model in the context of the Wilhelmian Empire and the Weimar Republic and pointed at the crucial role conservative social policy played in this process. According to that view, it were not first and foremost demands of qualification and skill formation evolving on the backdrop of reinforced market competition and technological changes that forged the emergence of VET; instead these developments must be interpreted as a response to the threats of clashing class interests in the beginning of the 20th century.

The concentration on a critical reappraisal of that bourgeois, more and more authoritarian ideology and its impact to the idea of “Beruf”, whom historiography of vocational education until the 90s owed its flowering, bears some problems, too. One may put in question, first, the influence of these theories, rooted in the “Geisteswissenschaftlichen Pädagogik”1 dominant at that time on VET practice, especially on ← 33 | 34 → plant-based training in the growing industry (Barschak 1929; Zabeck 2009). Secondly, the focus on that highly academic “Bildungs” discourse may obscure the importance of other, competing – and, perhaps, more influencing – paradigms.

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