02 SES 02 A, A Consideration of the Future of VET: Learning from the Nordic Countries
In all the Nordic Countries the students´ high dropout rates in upper secondary education, especially in vocational programmes, have raised considerable concern on the political level (Lamb & Markussen 2011; Olofsson & Panican 2008; Markussen 2010). Students’ dropout from education is a complex problem with multiple causes (Jørgensen 2011). Furthermore, the definition of dropout varies considerable between the Nordic Countries (Markussen 2010; Albæk a.o. 2014). This is not only a conceptual issue, but also due to differences in the institutional architecture of upper secondary education and to the increased de-standardisa¬tion of school to work transition (Walther & Plug 2006; Dwyer & Wyn 2006). In the political discourse dropout is often treated as a solitary decision of individual students to leave edu-cation. In contrast to this perspective, research has shown that dropout is often the result of accumulative processes of disengagement (Newmann et al., 1992) or a gradual withdrawal from school related to the interplay of multiple risk factors (Finn 1989; Rumberger, 2004). Students’ propensity to drop out is not only related to individual factors, but also to the risks and challenges they encounter on their way through the educational system and in their transition to the labour market or to higher education. A more comprehensive understanding of dropout can be gained by considering the general structuring of educational pathways and institutions and the total institutional architecture of the educational system and the education-employment linkages of a country. This paper will use the concept of transition system (Raffe 2008) to study the dropout phenomenon in a broader perspective of the overall structures, institutions and transition patterns in a country (Brzinsky-Fay 2014; Walther & Plug. 2006). This paper will use this approach to compare upper secondary education in the Nordic Countries to identify where the risky points of transition are located, and to explore why these transition systems are associated with different patterns of dropout and youth unemployment. A special interest is on the role of VET in supporting inclusion and completion of upper secondary education and a successful transition to employment or to higher education (Deissinger et.al. 2013). It is based on a current comparative Nordic research project www.Nord-VET.dk
Albæk, K., Andersen, T. M., Asplund, R., Barth, E., Bratsberg, B., Calmfors, L., & Vihriälä, V. (2014). The Nordic model–challenged but capable of reform. Nordic Council of Ministers. Brzinsky-Fay, Christian (2014) The Measurement of School-to-work Transitions as Processes. European Societies 16:2, Deissinger Thomas & Josef Aff & Alison Fuller & Christian H. Jørgensen (eds.) Hybrid Qualifications – structural and political issues in the context of European VET policy. Zürich. Peter Lang Publisher. Dwyer, P., & Wyn, J. (2006). Youth, education and risk – Facing the future. London: Routledge Falmer. Jørgensen, Christian Helms (red.) 2011. Frafald i erhvervsuddannelserne [dropout in vocational education], Frederiksberg, Roskilde University Press. Lamb, S., & Markussen, E. (2011). School dropout and completion: an international perspective. In School Dropout and Completion (pp. 1-18). Springer Netherlands. Markussen, E. 2010 (Ed..) Frafall i utdanning for 16–20 åringer i Norden [dropout of 16-20 year olds from education in the Nordic Countries] , København: Nordisk ministerråd. Olofsson, J., & Panican, A. (2008): Ungdomars väg från skola till arbetsliv – nordiska erfarenheter. [young peoples´ transition from school to employment – Nordic experiences]. Nordiska ministerrådet Raffe, D. (2008). The concept of transition system. Journal of Education and Work, 21(4), 277-296.
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