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VETNET-ECER CONFERENCE 2005. DUBLIN MASSIMO TOMASSINI Discussion of Whats European about education and training in Europe? ECER introductory speech by.

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Presentation on theme: "VETNET-ECER CONFERENCE 2005. DUBLIN MASSIMO TOMASSINI Discussion of Whats European about education and training in Europe? ECER introductory speech by."— Presentation transcript:

1 VETNET-ECER CONFERENCE DUBLIN MASSIMO TOMASSINI Discussion of Whats European about education and training in Europe? ECER introductory speech by James Wickham

2 MODELS OF VET & HRD THE GERMAN MODEL VET highly regulated, part of a co-ordinated market economy HRD orientation: participation, long-term employment relations THE BRITISH MODEL VET within a more free-trade oriented system HRD orientation: self-learning for gaining value in the l.m. THE EUROPEAN MODEL (Background homogeneities) Active role of social actors in VET systems Importance attributed to broad qualifications (v/s just in time learning) Recognition of citizenship factors in the vocational curricula Participation and learning at work as a right (not linked only to firms needs) … will this model survive? Or will the marketised American model prevail?

3 Which are the dynamics of national models? THE SOCIETAL INSTITUTIONALISM..a specific éffet societal influences structures and behaviours in enterprises.. the internal functioning of enterprises, and therefore the concrete practices of VET and HRD actors, is highly conditioned by the specific forms of social link (lien social) which are typical of different national systems.. the ways of managing, organising work, training, maintaining hierarchies, paying salaries, handling industrial relations, etc.. are continuously reproduced according to endogenous (national) criteria

4 CHALLENGES TO SOCIETAL INSTITUTIONALISM 1. Growth of external-homogenising factors Globalisation: … standardisation of structures, procedures and management styles within single organisations (not only multinational companies)..cosmopolitan approaches diffused in management and hence transmitted to entire organisations.. uses of ICTs and new technology systems (like SAP, for instance): same technical-logical frameworks for reasoning and communicating in different contexts.

5 2. Growth of internal-differentiating factors.. each national model is as a complex source of cognitive, technical and social practices in which formal norms and official procedures are strictly intertwined with underlying values and theories-in-use...each model provides the structure which regulates the social practices and at the same time allow their sedimentation over time. But the structure is maintained and reproduced by a mobile agency, expressed by the enacted conducts of VET and HRD actors.. the grip of formal rules and socially transmitted routines is increasingly loosening in modern societies, where subjects expand their ability to reflect on the social conditions of their existence..action prevails on structure unleashing effects take place whereby agencies are increasingly freed from structures, i.e. freed from models

6 Both the external-homogenising and the internal-differentiating factors seem in action for VET and HRD models in Europe …in HRD several homogenising isomorphic drivers are in place due to the networking of the organisational control chains and to the memetic effect of the diffusion of ideas, fashions or even fads …as shown in a recent research study, HRD tends to play a new role, more of service provider for organisational areas and production lines (regarding services such as training, career paths design, counselling, etc..) than of central (corporate) human resource management..for instance, HRD practitioners do recognise the meaning of the learning organisation but do not recognise any specific model attached to it, while tend to treat it as an open construct covering different practices for competence development and problem- solving

7 …in VET generalised trends towards more efficiency and effectiveness are in place for responding to increasing demands for better services and better overall outcomes.. not only for higher level competencies (VET has to support the development processes of European economies caring about both the haves and the have-nots of the globalising learning economy) other drivers of trans-national isomorphism are linked to the action of Europe (Brussels, the Commission and its policies): a) ESF + equal opportunities, transparency, recognition of non-formal learning, credit transfer systems, etc.. b) ideological imperatives creating an homogeneous reference system for actors imaginary (..Lisbon: the the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world)

8 Concerning the differentiating effects involving VET actors in each country vis-à-vis their national models it is easy to remark that VET incurred in extraordinary transformations in the last two- three decades... from being a function related to stable demand patterns (mainly young people, firmly established programmes) VET has evolved to being a function facing turbulent social- technological-market environments (employed and non employed adults, continuous updating and/or structural changes in strategies and activities) …VET practitioners had to grow fast in professional terms: the autonomy of their practices vis-à-vis structural models has been remarkably enlarged (satisfaction of their customers, adoption of new technologies and new teaching/learning methods, even changes in the ultimate goals of the function)

9 In conclusion, the constitution of the European model appears as a very open game, in which local actors have an important function to play, not directly dependent on macro-political choices and on established models. …As already underlined, the flexibility and autonomy of social actors in VET and HRD contexts is related to their reflexive capabilities: action can prevail on structure, pushed forward by reflexive capabilities aimed at regularly using knowledge about the circumstances of social life and at transforming them accordingly … the European research community on VET/HRD should put the focus on the development of these reflexive capabilities and enter the game not just analysing the trends but trying to influence them through the alliance with actors on the field in view of expanding their chances for autonomous innovation.

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