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Education policy: Mapping the landscape and scope

Edited By Sandra Bohlinger, Thi Kim Anh Dang and Malgorzata Klatt

This book maps recent developments in the landscape of education policy in higher and vocational education, the returns of education, curriculum design and education reforms, driven by social, economic, political and cultural factors. Contributed by over twenty authors from five continents, this collection provides diverse, innovative and useful perspectives on the ways education policy is researched, implemented and enacted. It helps researchers, policy makers, students and practitioners to better understand processes of policy making, its theory, practice and outcomes. Despite national differences, many shared features and challenges emerge from this book as education systems face the common need to reinvent their existing systems and processes.

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Occupational standards in the English-speaking world: A dysfunctional product for export?

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Western wealthy English-speaking countries have a history of relatively weak vocational education systems and weak linkages between education and work. Yet, the models for setting occupational standards from Western English-speaking countries, which were developed with the hope of improving relationships between education and work, have influenced the reform of occupational standards systems and technical and vocational education and training in many countries in the developing world. This apparent paradox may be due to the ways in which what this chapter will call the Anglo-model of occupational standards presents an apparently transportable model, as it seems to be applicable across national boundaries. By contrast, countries with more successful technical and vocational education and training systems, and better relationships between education and work, are so embedded in the fabric of specific political economies that they are not easily transplantable across national borders. This may explain the appeal of the Anglo-model to countries which are attempting to develop new systems, as well as to donors and international agencies. However, the apparent user friendliness of this highly generic model belies the difficulties that have been experienced in the countries in which it originates. Four interrelated problems can be discerned. First, the occupational standards produced have not been seen as reliable in assessing workplace performance, and have tended to be narrow and atomized. Second, employers have not really bought into the standards or the sectoral structures set up to represent employers. Third, the focus on qualification reform has tended to ignore reform of...

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