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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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The revolutionary scope of qualifications frameworks and their limitations on the ground: Reflections on the model used in development cooperation and its implementation in Sri Lanka: Markus Maurer

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MARKUS MAURER

The revolutionary scope of qualifications frameworks and their limitations on the ground: Reflections on the model used in development cooperation and its implementation in Sri Lanka

1.Global diffusion of a super macro curriculum reform

What makes national qualifications frameworks (NQF) so puzzling from a researcher’s perspective is mainly two simple facts: firstly, the specific ways in which countries design such frameworks can have tremendous consequences for their overall vocational skills development (VSD) systems development. Basically, qualifications frameworks outline the learning outcomes (competencies) that are to be achieved in the course of education and training; however, in contrast to many other approaches to curriculum reform in VSD, qualifications frameworks can influence many other dimensions of VSD systems (depending on the way they are implemented), not only instruction and testing, but also infrastructure and equipment, training of trainers as well as issues of governance and financing. For this reason, the development of a NQF can reasonably be labelled a ‘super macro curriculum reform’ in VSD.

The second puzzling NQF phenomenon is their rapid global diffusion. After their emergence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the 1980s, they spread out to Scotland and other parts of the Commonwealth (e. g. Australia and New Zealand) as well as to many transition countries (such as South Africa or Mexico) in the 1990s (Allais 2010, p. 18). In the period since 2000, NQFs not only became the core rationale of the European Union’s Copenhagen process...

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