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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


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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Promises unfulfilled and (still) counting casualties: Embedded interests and the NQF in South Africa: Salim Akoojee



Promises unfulfilled and (still) counting casualties: Embedded interests and the NQF in South Africa

There is renewed focus on the ways in which national education systems respond to issues of skills development and employability. This chapter focuses on the resilience and dominance of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in the education and training discourse, despite evidence of its various shortcomings, almost fifteen years after its introduction. Crucially, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it has not been able to deliver on promises of equity and redress that underpinned its initial inception, nor has it been able to advance the imperatives of a coherent and articulated education and training system in response to an inherited unequal and fractured system. The paper explores the role of the NQF in South Africa, discussing the initial rationale for its introduction and evaluating its impact until now. It argues that a range of vested interests, based essentially on the frustration of the achievement of transformational imperatives, is likely to result in continuation of its key features despite its failure to achieve meaningful impact.


Interest in the role of education and training in responding to national economic and development challenges has been revived in the post-2008 financial crisis, as countries grapple with the reality of economic austerity. The allure of various co-ordinating mechanisms as a way of realising education and training synergy is considered one way of responding to the challenge as countries grapple with expanding their provisioning...

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