02 SES 02 A, A Consideration of the Future of VET: Learning from the Nordic Countries
In Finland, the school-based model of organizing initial vocational education and training has dominated. Its popularity has increased little by little since the early 2000s. This is a characteristic that differs the Finnish model of VET from other Nordic countries, in particular Denmark and Norway. The success of Finnish VET is primarily based giving eligibility to higher education (HE)and establishment of the universities of applied sciences (UAS) as a more professional route of HE in 1990s. In addition other factors have promoted its success, including: enhancing linkages with the world of work through workplace learning and skills demonstrations, internationalization and skills competitions (see Virtanen, Tynjälä & Eteläpelto 2014; Virolainen & Stenström 2014). The presentation focusses on picturing how the Finnish school-based model of VET has developed into its present day model step by step, and how apprenticeship training has prevailed as an option directed mainly at adult education on its side. The presentation will compare how VET has provided access to the skilled labour market and to higher education with respect to other Nordic countries. In addition the recent turn toward more competence-based approach in Finnish VET, will be analysed and discussed in the context of European trends. The renewal of curriculum is related to international trends, such as introduction of national qualifications frameworks and European Qualifications Framework (Young , Allais & Raffe 2009). This latest curriculum reform has taken place in 2014, and the new curricula are implemented since August 2015. It remains to be seen whether the new curriculum will continue to provide skills demanded in higher education to a satisfactory degree from the perspective of UAS or will it enhance vocationalism as it has been defined by Grubb and Lazerson (2006).
Grubb, N.W., & Lazerson, M. (2006). The globalization of rhetoric and practice: The education gospel and vocationalism. In Education, globalisation and social change, ed. H. Lauder, P. Brown, J.-A. Dillabough, and A.H. Halsey, (pp. 295-307.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. Virtanen, A., Tynjälä, P., & Eteläpelto, A. (2014). Factors promoting vocational students’ learning at work: Study on student experiences. Journal of Education and Work, 27(1), 43-70. Virolainen, M., & Stenström, M.-L. (2014). Finnish vocational education and training in comparison: Strengths and weaknesses, International Journal for Research in VET, 1(2), 81-106. Young, M., Allais, S., & Raffe, D. (2009). Understanding NQFs as dynamic entities. In S. Allais, D. Raffe, & M. Young (Eds.) Researching NQFs: Some conceptual issues. International Labour Office, Employment Sector, Skills andEmployability Department, Employment working paper no. 44. Geneva: ILO.
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