02 SES 02 A, VET Policies: European Developments And Specific Change Agendas
Parallel Paper Session
VET systems not meeting the expectations and requirements of future society (Tuomi, 2007) are undergoing major reforms is several countries together with reinterpreting its role in the context of development of regional or national innovation capacity (Moodie, 2006; Tynjälä & Nikkanen, 2007; Kearns et al, 2008).
This presentation aims to conceptualize educational change process, by taking the reform processes in Estonian vocational education (VET), which have taken place during the last 15 years, as the example. In common institutional framework several VET reforms, including reorganisation of network of VET schools, application of national VET curricula, legalisation of new forms of vocational training etc, has been adopted by VET schools at different speed and by adopting different adaptation strategies. The level of the infrastructure as well as the quality of teaching and practical training varies significantly from school to school (Ümarik et al, 2010: 148). The central question having both practical and theoretical value is what have been the change adoption mechanisms and strategies of VET schools in adapting to changes accompanied with VET reforms and what has been the real impact of reforms?
Despite the vast amount of empirical researches and conceptualisations on educational change it has been argued that processes of educational reforms and policy are still poorly understood and underestimated, although these processes have become extremely complex, multifaceted, and often unpredictable ( McLaughlin, 2008). Many educational reform efforts have failed or remained superficial and have not had expected long-term effects (Fullan, 2001; Wallace, 2003; Sahlberg, 2010). Multitude of reform initiatives and innovations imposed to schools at the same time has resulted with little changes in the schools´ culture and teachers’ habitus. (Hargreaves, 1994) It has been argued that in order an educational system reform to be successful it involves building new conceptions about meaning that a process of reculturing takes place and new values, beliefs and norms are developed (Hargreaves, 1994).
The paper provides analysis of two case studies of VET schools´ different reactions to reorganisation of network of VET schools in Estonia.The social innovation approach applied as a theoretical framework and analytical tool offers new perspectives in understanding the educational change process, especially the adoption of reform processes as well as the real social impact of those reforms. The integrated model of social innovation proposed enables to analyse both grassroots and top-down initiated education reforms. The model applied as a tool in the analysis of the case studies includes five components: logic of emergence, initiating actor and change agents, embedded social mechanisms e.g. learning, knowledge transfer, tools for achieving aims, implications and basis of legitimacy and social benefits. From the viewpoint of the systemic approach to social innovation the educational changes processes can be explored as trespassing three levels: regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive (Scott, 2001; 2008). We will analyse whether the reform processes implemented in VET schools has become the norms for stakeholders on the educational domain and influence their professional practices.
Cohen. L.; Manion, L.; Morrisson, K. 2007. Research Methods on Education. London & New York: Routhledge. Fullan, M. 2001. The New Meaning of Educational Change, 3rd Edition. New York: Teachers College Press. Hargreaves, A. 1994. The empty rain coat: Making sense of the future. London: Hutchinson. Kearns, P.; Bowman, K.; Garlick, S. 2008. The double helix of vocational education and training and regional development. Adelaide: NCVER, http://www.ncver.edu.au/research/proj/nr6014.pdf McLaughlin, M. 2008. Beyond ’misery research’ – new opportunities for implementation research, policy and practice. In: Ciaran Sugrue (ed.) The Future of Educational Change. International Perspectives. Routhledge: London and New York, pp 175-190. Moodie, G. 2006. Vocational education institutions’ role in national innovation. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Vol 11, No 2, pp 131-140. Sahlberg, P. 2010. Global educational reform movement and national educational change. Paper presented at the 2010 EUNEC Conference in Brussels, 2nd December 2010. Scott, W.R. 2001. Institutions and Organizations, 2nd ed., Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Scott, W. R. 2008 Approaching adulthood: the maturing of institutional theory, Theory and Society, 37, 427-442. Tuomi, I. 2007. Learning in the Age of Networked Society. European Journal of Education, Vol 42, No 2, pp 235-254. Tynjälä, P.; Nikkanen, P. 2007. The Role of VET in Creating Innovative Networks and Learning Region in Central Finland, presentation at ECER 2007 symposium „ Work and Learning Partnerships – the Contribution of VET in Regional Development“. Ümarik, M.; Loogma, K.; Hinno, K. 2010. Structural decoupling between the VET and the employment systems; challenges manifested in assessment of practical training. Journal of Education and Work, 23 (2), pp 245-260. Wallace, M. 2003. Managing the Unmanageable?: Coping with Complex Educational Change, Educational Management Administration Leadership. Vol 31, No 9, pp 9-29.
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