New IJRVET Issue: Non-Formal Education in International Comparison, Learning Outcomes in European Policy-Making, Cooperative VET in Training Networks, Returns to Investment in Education between Graduates and Apprentices in Canada

The International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training is a peer-reviewed Journal for VET-related research and provides full open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. End of 2015 a new issue has been published:

  • Non-Formal Education in International Comparison: Patterns of Participation and Investment in Selected European Countries
    Katrin Kaufmann
    This investigation focuses on participation and related investment patterns in job related non-formal education (NFE) in selected European countries. Broadening previous research formats of NFE are distinguished by investment including financial and time investments by employers, employees and public authorities. By this, company-sponsored and individual-financed NFE are distinguished sharply and cases with shared investment between employers and employees (co-financed NFE) and between employers, employees and public funding (co-financed pooled NFE) are accounted for, additionally. For explaining participation in NFE supply and demand models are referred to. Hypotheses on cross-country differences for investment in NFE refer to the Varieties-of-Capitalism approach and countries are selected representing different varieties of capitalism (Norway, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Spain, France, UK). Analyses are based on data of the Adult Education Survey (AES) 2011/12.
  • Governance for Learning Outcomes in European Policy-Making: Qualification Frameworks Pushed through the Open Method of Coordination
    Odd Bjørn Ure
    The construction of European education policy builds on a widely shared goal of transparency in qualifications, upheld by the popular narrative of mobile students endowed with scholarships from the EU Erasmus programme, which  allow them  to transfer credit points between universities and across national borders. EU education policy is increasingly inscribed in National Qualification Frameworks (NQF). Their European umbrella is coined  the European Qualification Framework (EQF), which is linked to a discourse on or even shift to Learning Outcomes; functioning as  a tool for the displacement of input to output categories in education systems with a view to make qualifications more transparent. This form of governance situates Learning Outcomes as a tool for policy reform that intentionally should affect all educational and administrative levels of European education. The article shows that the multitude of governance instruments used to promote a shift to Learning Outcomes are so varied that EU education policy has no apparent need of new instruments for this purpose. The fact that Learning Outcomes are linked to EU policy instruments of the Open Method of policy-Coordination and destined for several sectors of education, increases the likelihood that they will be translated into modified learning practices. Yet, there is a danger that governance of Learning Outcomes succumbs to a pitfall of declaratorily placing Learning Outcomes in the middle of learning practices in all subsectors of education, without sufficiently proving their real novelty and regulatory functions.
  • Cooperative VET in Training Networks: Analysing the Free-Rider Problem in a Sociology-of-Conventions Perspective
    Regula Julia Leemann, Christian Imdorf
    In training networks, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises pool their resources to train apprentices within the framework of the dual VET system, while an intermediary organisation is tasked with managing operations. Over the course of their apprenticeship, the apprentices switch from one training company to another on a (half-) yearly basis. Drawing on a case study of four training networks in Switzerland and the theoretical framework of the sociology of conventions, this paper aims to understand the reasons for the slow dissemination and reluctant adoption of this promising form of organising VET in Switzerland. The results of the study show that the system of moving from one company to another creages a variety of free-rider constellations in the distribution of the collectively generated corporative benefits. This explains why companies are reluctant to participate in this model. For the network to be sustainable, the intermediary organisation has to address discontent arising from free-rider problems while taking into account that the solutions found are always tentative and will often result in new free-rider problems.
  • The Academic Takes it All? A Comparison of Returns to Investment in Education between Graduates and Apprentices in Canada
    Susanne Kopatz, Matthias Pilz
    This paper analyses the returns to education of specific occupations in Canada. The purpose is to scrutinize whether and in how far academic and vocational education do differ in monetary benefits regarding individual returns. Therefore, two different methodologies of calculation are used to compute the concrete returns to education. As a result it is shown empirically that within the here selected occupational groups (e.g. librarians and electricians) there is no decisive earnings benefit regarding academic careers, although a positive correlation of income level and educational achievement can be verified. Our findings justify revisiting the underlying assumption that vocational education and training cannot generate benefits comparable with those generated by higher education. The earnings data suggest that monetary aspects may be less crucial than generally assumed to the reputation and perceived value of vocational education and training. Therefore, social status and prestige seem to be the most significant contributory factors to vocational training’s low status in Canada.
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