Conference Agenda

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PRELIMINARY Session Overview
Symposium 1: Policy transfer I
Wednesday, 02/Feb/2022:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: Antje BARABASCH, Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training SFUVET
Session Chair: Sandra BOHLINGER, Technische Universität Dresden
Location: Room 3

Discussant: Stefan WOLF, Technische Universität Dresden

Session Abstract

This symposium addresses international policy transfer which is a key theme in international and comparative education. Policy transfer in VET mainly stems from the attractiveness of particular governance models and practices in teaching and learning in VET. An example are Public-Private-Partnership models in VET such as the ‘dual’ apprenticeship scheme in German-speaking countries or outcomes-based education derived from Anglophone countries and both models are seen as ideal ways to integrate (young) people into the labour market. Advocates of the dual apprenticeship scheme emphasize the low youth unemployment rates in those countries that have an apprenticeship scheme while those in favour of the learning outcomes orientation emphasize its transferability to all educational fields and to different target groups and contexts (such as VET or HE).

Against this background, this symposium will be concerned with debates and theoretical perspectives on the issue of international policy transfer in VET and therewith related issues such as a comparison of policy transfer in VET versus HE or policy transfer in VET in relation to continuing and adult education. It specifically addresses processes of policy transfer between donor and receiving countries and regions, changing roles in terms of borrowing or lending policies and the role of (international) actors in policy transfer. Theoretical and empirical perspectives on describing and analysing the policy cycle of the transfer initiatives will be presented, identifying the epistemological positions and methodological approaches to selected initiatives with respect to educational policies, but also labour market or HR policies. Authors will critically review the importance of developing ownership and the risk of failure of policy transfer activities globally.

Contributions address policy transfer coming from or within typical VET countries, such as Germany and Switzerland, but also the Francophone area and international perspectives including China and Vietnam.

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SY Reconstructing policy transfer in adult and vocational education and training

Antje BARABASCH1, Sandra Bohlinger2, Stefan Wolf3

1EHB, Switzerland; 2Universität Dresden; 3TU Berlin

The paper contributes to the understanding of educational policy transfer with a particular focus on VET and labour-market related training. Starting with a description of travelling VET reforms in adult and vocational education and training around the globe, the article excurses to the historical foundation of VET policy transfer with an emphasis on lending and borrowing from the global North to the global South. Further, contemporary forces that influence global policy transfer are described, leading to the development of a framework for policy cycles, that depicts the influence of different dynamics on decision for policy transfer in VET. Policy transfer today is not necessarily based on the attractiveness of a particular educational system or approach, but can have various other reasons, such as global industry demands for workforce development or the influence of big data and social media. We conclude that policy cycles are nowadays shaped by dynamics that tended to be neglected in the policy transfer discourse and finally provide an outlook for future research.

Conditions for Cross-border Policy Transfer and Cooperation: Analysing Differences between Vocational Training and Higher Education

Lukas GRAF, Anna Prisca LOHSE

Hertie School - The University of Governance in Berlin, Germany

Against the backdrop of an increasingly interconnected world as well as the growing role of inter- and supranational organizations, policy transfer has become a widespread phenomenon, not least in the realm of education. While policy transfer research has focused predominantly on isolated education sectors, less is known about the overall institutional conditions that favour or inhibit policy movement in different education sectors. We argue that the conditions for cross-border policy synthesis, as a central form of policy transfer, differ systematically between the two main education sectors preparing for labour market entry, namely vocational education and training (VET) and higher education (HE). Taking the case of the cross-border region of France, Germany, and Switzerland as an example, the institutional analysis shows that demand-side, programmatic, contextual, and application conditions are more favourable towards cross-border policy synthesis in HE than VET.

Enhancing social and economic inclusion of young adults through VET and work-related learning: facilitating integration through policy learning

Natasha KERSH1, Andrea Laczik2

1UCL Institute of Education, University College London, United Kingdom; 2Edge Foundation, United Kingdom

This paper will consider the role of vocational education and training (VET) and work-related learning in contributing to strategies to enhance social and economic inclusion of young adults, particular those at risk of exclusion. Recent changes in economic and social development and global trends, such as migration, economic crisis and more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic have affected the global and national contexts. In response to these trends, many educational programmes and policy initiatives in Europe have aimed at strengthening VET in order to integrate young people more swiftly into the labour market and society, thus facilitating their social and economic inclusion. The paper will endeavour to consider some implications for VET practices, particularly, discussing the ways in which vocational programmes adapt to the new trends and challenges in response to policy changes, global challenges and the needs and expectations of young adults and employers. The paper will employ the notion of policy learning to consider how the interplay between country-specific priorities, global discourses and the European agenda on active citizenship contribute to and shape specific practices for social inclusion through VET. The particular focus will be on young adults at risk of social and economic exclusion. (e.g. migrants, early school leavers, NEETs). The central question we are posing in the paper is – what is the potential of different forms of VET programmes to facilitate young adults’ social and economic inclusion, and which factors (including relevant policies and practices) may strengthen or undermine these developments? We will draw on both theoretical perspectives in relation to policy developments in adult education and the empirical findings from the Horizon 2020 project ‘Adult Education as a Means to Active Participatory Citizenship’ (EduMAP). Selected cases will demonstrate the ways the policy agenda on inclusion through VET translates into specific programmes for vulnerable young adults.

The role of the vocational schools in the transfer of dual apprenticeship: the hidden driving forces

Junmin LI

University of Cologne, Germany

It is well known that a one-to-one transfer of the dual apprenticeship is not possible and not realistic, therefore, the transfer of the dual apprenticeship is no longer discussed dogmatically. Successful examples of the transfer of the dual apprenticeship model show different forms in the recipient countries. Dual apprenticeship is characterised by cooperation between companies and vocational schools. The educational responsibilities are clearly divided between the two learning venues. Studies on the transfer of the dual VET system often focus on the company side. The reason is that an obstacle to the successful transfer of the dual training model lies in the lack of the willingness of the companies. However, the vocational schools’ role in the transfer of dual apprenticeship is often taken for granted and hardly investigated. Yet most success stories of the transfer are only possible with the high commitment of the vocational schools involved. Against this background, this paper investigates the role of the vocational schools in the transfer of dual apprenticeship. Specifically, it will study what tasks are assumed by the vocational schools in the transfer and to what extent it is the driving force behind the successful transfer of the dual apprenticeship. To answer the research question, interview data from an explorative study conducted in 2011 and 2016 in China on the transfer of the German dual system is re-analysed with regard to the role of vocational schools. The role of the school in the transfer of dual apprenticeships is examined against the background of the construct of promoters of innovation according to Gemünden, Hölzle and Lettl (2006). Implications for enhancing the school's promoter roles are derived based on the 6 P concepts of sustainable transfer according to Pilz (2017).

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