23 SES 12 A, Nordic Educational Programmes to Assure Transition and Prevent Dropout
In Norway, all students have a statutory right to 3 years upper secondary education. At this level, there are two main tracks, an academic and a vocational. The vocational education and training (VET) track has a 2+2 structure, two years in school followed by two-year in private or public enterprise regulated by a regular apprentice contract or an apprentice-training contract. The apprentice contract qualifies for a regular journeyman’s certificate while the training contract qualifies students at a lower level. There is a sharp contrast between the political ideal of an inclusive upper secondary education and training, and the reality of too many students leaving school with no worthwhile qualifications in terms of transition to further education or work. Currently it is estimated that 20 % of a cohort entering upper secondary school has low probability of successful completion (MOE 2012). To meet the needs of this group, local authorities at county and school level design alternative tracks, among these are courses termed “special needs education in small groups: extended work practice”. The paper draws on research on these courses (Nevøy et al 2014 and INVESTT 2012-15). In general, students rarely sign apprentice- or apprentice-training contracts. At school and county level, this is explained as due to students’ lack of readiness for transition into regular courses, and thereby a lack the required qualifications for signing apprentice contracts. The discussion concentrates on: (1) The special education framework for the alternative courses creates segregated trajectories and constrains students’ possibilities for transfer to regular tracks. (2) At the level of private and public enterprises, the trade-unions interest of protecting the status of skilled work and the public enterprises’ focus on accountability policies, exclude students’ from signing apprentice-training contracts, and thereby constrain the transition to the labour marked.
INVESTT (2012-15) Inclusive Vocational Education and Specialised Tailor-made Training. Project number: 527924-LLP-1-2012-1-BE-LEONARDO LMP Ministry of Education. (2012-2013). White paper no. 20, "På rett vei: Kvalitet og mangfold I fellesskolen" [On track: quality and diversity in the common school] Oslo: Norway. Nevøy, A., Rasmussen, A., Ohna, S. E., & Barow, T. (2014). Nordic Upper Secondary School: Regular and Irregular Programmes - Or Just One Irregular School for All? The Nordic Educational Model: 'A School for All' Encounters Neo-Liberal Policy. Dordrecht: Springer. Slee, R. (2011). The irregular school. Exclusion, schooling and inclusive education. London: Routledge. Tomlinson, S. (2013). Ignorant yobs?: low attainers in the global knowledge economy. London: Routledge.
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