ERG SES B 01, Interactive Poster Session B 01
Educational reforms are at the centre of current European debates. The economic crisis that we are facing seems to intrinsically evidence the need for reconceptualising our educational systems. Vocational Education and Training (VET), an area traditionally neglected due to its socially second-chance consideration, is now attracting the attention of policy makes attempting to find the perfect curriculum which would enhance the employability of the learners and hence its productivity.
This proposal outlines and critiques the dominant approach of human capital based on economic achievements that currently frame the European debate. Drawing principally on Amartya Sen’s notion of capabilities and Iris Marion Young’s politics of difference, this research positions people at the forefront for understanding the instrumental but also intrinsic value of VET.
The aim is to create awareness of the impact of VET on learners’ agency and societal wellbeing in relation to the extent to which it fosters “fertile functionings” and capabilities that individuals and society in general have reason to value. This view sets out an alternative approach to assessing the post-sixteen VET in a public college based on Sen’s and Young’s idea of social justice.
The aims that guide this study are:
- To represent the current state of VET in Europe by mapping through a case study, any disparity of goals, values and aspirations among those involved in this educational area.
- To contribute to current VET analyses, changing the paradigm of evaluation which is centred on skills, competences and knowledge by focusing on capabilities.
- To research with those considered by the system as the least advantaged in order to gather their valuable beings and doings as well as the impact of VET on their identities.
The first research question aims to increase understanding about which are those valuable beings and doings are developed and experienced in VET.
- How is VET in Spain understood, transmitted/experienced and valued by policy makers, college lecturers, future employers, and learners; and captured through institutional arrangements?
Analysis of the values underlying the VET system in a particular college would deepen understanding about how the curriculum, pedagogical practices and institutional ethos are configured, as well as on the influence of those on learners’ valuables beings and doings.
The second research question seeks to analyse the meaning of disadvantage in VET paying attention not just to learner outcomes but also to their genuine opportunities or capabilities to achieve those functionings.
- How does the Capability Approach (CA) advance our theoretical and operational understanding of disadvantage in Vocational Education in Spain and more broadly in Europe?
This research seeks to move beyond the human capital approach by providing a social justice framework.
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