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Skill Formation Regimes in South Asia

A Comparative Study on the Path-Dependent Development of Technical and Vocational Education and Training for the Garment Industry


Markus Maurer

In the face of accelerated economic globalisation, many of the industries in economically less developed countries have become more technology-intensive. Skill formation processes, both inside and outside firms, are therefore changing. This study scrutinises such transformations by comparing – from the perspective of historical institutionalism – the skill formation regimes of the garment industries in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It sheds light on the differences between the trajectories of the in-firm skill formation regimes of the two countries, and reveals the important part that varying paths of educational development in both countries have played in shaping these trajectories. At the same time, the study shows how, in both countries, state-led skill formation regimes have been transformed not only by market forces and the growing importance of corporate business interests, but also by the social demand for educational credentials.


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PART E FINAL PART THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM A HISTORICAL- INSTITUTIONALIST PERSPECTIVE Parts C and D have shown that the historical trajectories of the skill formation regimes of the garment industries in Sri Lanka and Bangla- desh have developed in markedly path-dependent ways. This chapter will now condense the empirical evidence from a historical-insti- tutionalist perspective, which involves looking at both country-specific and common aspects of the historical paths of the two skill formation regimes. The first section concentrates on the institutional contexts of the skill formation regimes; first on the education and training regimes, and then on the garment production regimes. The second section pon- ders over the path-dependent development of the in-firm and of the out- of-firm skill formation regimes, and in this way, similarly to some of the empirical chapters, it follows the temporal structure defined by the cru- cial junctures in the development of the global garment industry. It will be here that, for the first time in this study, the theoretical concepts of historical institutionalism will be thoroughly applied. I will concentrate on critical junctures in the historical trajectories of the regimes and on the corresponding sequencing and timing of events. I will also point to positive feedback mechanisms and increasing returns of specific institu- tional arrangements, and will highlight the complementarities between in-firm and out-of-firm skill formation arrangements. Furthermore, I will examine (as is commonly done in the historical-institutional and in the political-economic literature more generally) the breadth of coali- tions underlying specific skill...

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