23 SES 11 A, Market Ideas and Practices III
Decentralization, deregulation and marketisation characterize education policy changes in Sweden and several European countries. The introduction of independent schools [friskolor] in 1992 is one manifestation of the economic and discursive changes in Sweden. The ‘school choice-reform’ has resulted in an increasing number of enterprises offering education besides public schools run by local authorities. A quasi-market has emerged, and schools engage in marketing to recruit pupils and receive the school voucher [skolpeng] each pupil brings. Noteworthy in the Swedish case is that independent schools are fully tax financed and allowed to be run on a profit base. This paper explores how career guidance in schools is affected by such changes. More specifically the aim is to gain knowledge on how career guidance practitioners’ (CGPs) comprehend and deal with competition and marketing in upper secondary schools. Challenges and dilemmas in guidance are highlighted.
Educational research has examined the neo-liberal shift and marketisation of education (c.f. Ball 2007; Lundahl & Arnesen 2006), the consequences for teaching and teachers (c.f. Fredriksson 2009; Hargreaves 2004), school choice (c.f. Forsey et al 2008; Kelly 2007) and school marketing (c.f. Oplatka & Hemsley-Brown 2004). However, the consequences for career guidance in schools have scarcely been focussed in educational research. This issue is vital since young people are expected - and need knowledge and skills - to navigate through school, further education, unemployment and employment in a lifelong learning society offering numerous pathways, uncertainties and risks (c.f. Furlong & Cartmel 2007; Lidström 2009; Lundahl et al 2010). Research on the effects of marketisation on career guidance has mainly focused a trend of privatization of the services, and discusses what responsibility the government versus the market ought to have in career guidance provision (c.f. Grubb 2004; Meijers 2001; Watts 2008). In the case of Sweden, privatization in the sense that enterprises and public career guidance compete for service delivery to pupils is not very extensive so far. Even so, it has been shown that the competition among upper secondary schools influences Swedish career guidance substantially, and that CGPs more frequently are supposed to market their school (Lundahl & Nilsson 2007; Olsson & Svensson 2006).
In this study the CGPs understanding of and strategies towards the school quasi-market draws on Ball’s (2007) ideas and analytical concepts - discursive, structural and interpretive – regarding the private sector’s participation in public sector education. The findings are also linked to notions of individualization and risk (Beck 1992; Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2001; Giddens 1996). The study is part of a larger, ongoing, research project “Upper-secondary education as a market” financed by the Swedish Research Council.
Ball, Stephen J. (2007). Education plc. Understanding private sector participation in public sector education. Oxon: Routledge. Beck, Ulrich & Beck-Gernsheim, Elisabeth (2001). Individualization: Institutional Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences. London: Sage. Forsey, Martin; Davies, Scott & Walford, Geoffrey (2008). The Globalisation of School Choice? Oxford: Symposium Books. Fredriksson, Anders (2009). On the Consequences of the Marketisation of Public Education in Sweden: for-profit charter schools and the emergence of the ‘market-oriented teacher’. European Educational Research Journal, 8:2, 299-310. Furlong, Andy & Cartmel, Fred (2007). Young people and social change. New perspectives. Buckingham: Open University Press. Grubb, W. Norton (2004). An Occupation in Harmony: The Roles of Markets and Government in Career Information and Guidance. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 4, 123-139. Giddens, Anthony (1991). Modernity and self-identity: self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity Press. Hargreaves, Andy (2005). Extending Educational Change. Dordrecht: Springer. Lidström, Lena (2009). En resa med osäkra mål. Unga vuxnas övergångar mellan skola och arbete i ett biografiskt perspektiv. [A journey with uncertain destinations. Young adults’ school-to-work transitions in a biographical perspective]. Umeå: Umeå University (diss. in Swedish with a summary in English). Lundahl, Lisbeth & Arnesen, Anne-Lise (2006). Still Social and Democratic? Inclusive Education Policies in the Nordic Welfare States. In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 50:3, 285-300. Nilsson, Göran & Lundahl, Lisbeth (2009). Architectures of their own future? Swedish Career Guidance Policies. In: British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 37:1, 27-38. Oplatka, Izhar & Hemsley-Brown, Jane (2004). The research on school marketing: Current issues and future directions. Journal of Educational Management, 42:3, 375-400. Watts, A.G. (2008). Career guidance and public policy. In: Athanasou, James A. & Van Esbroeck, Raoul (eds). International Handbook of Career Guidance. Dordrecht: Springer.
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