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The Challenges of Policy Transfer in Vocational Skills Development

National Qualifications Frameworks and the Dual Model of Vocational Training in International Cooperation

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Edited By Markus Maurer and Philipp Gonon

In the context of renewed global interest in the development of vocational skills, policy makers in many countries as well as representatives of technical organisations often hope to reform existing training systems by borrowing models and policies that seem to work elsewhere. One of these prominent models is that of ‘National Qualifications Framework’, the use of which now spans the entire globe. On a much smaller scale, the ‘Dual Model’ of vocational training – a systematic combination of school and workplace-based learning that is common in a number of countries in Western Europe – has also gained attention in international cooperation.
Bringing together contributions from authors involved in both the theory and practice of vocational skills training development, this volume analyses the challenges that are tied to the transfer of these two dominant models in the context of international cooperation, sheds light on how they are being implemented, and discusses alternatives to the standard approaches to policy transfer.
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Skills, competencies, and knowledge in international translation and cooperation: Kenneth King

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KENNETH KING1

Skills, competencies, and knowledge in international translation and cooperation

Introduction

This book is about policy transfer and policy learning in international education and training. But it is worth noting at the outset of this short chapter that the focus is not just on institutional borrowings, but on the cultures, languages and meanings associated with the transfer. It is notable, for example, that of the 15 authors of chapters in this book, only two have English as their mother tongue. This is mentioned here because language and meaning are at the heart of our topic ‘Policy transfer’. This concept is not solely about the transfer of systems, but the transfer of ways of describing things – concepts and meanings. Thus, the key examples of dual systems derive from German-speaking countries: Austria, Germany and Switzerland; hence, the local meanings of the cultures of learning, training and of vocation in those countries would be critical to understand for any potential borrowers. The same would be true of national qualifications frameworks (NQFs). But these have principally emerged from Anglophone settings in England, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia. Even the most basic building blocks of terms such as ‘skills’, ‘competence’ and ‘vocational education and training’ (VET) translate with difficulty in Europe, let alone further afield. This chapter will review some of these transfer challenges, including some reference to earlier examples. ← 35 | 36 →

Skills and competencies

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