02 SES 04 C, Completing VET: Drop-Out, Vocational Identity And Progression
Permeability in education and training has been a perennial issue in European policy making ever since the adoption of the Lisbon strategy in 2000. The opportunity for a learner to transfer from one learning opportunity to another, including transitions between different educational sectors or different countries, is seen as a resource of personal and professional development that has the potential of improving people's employability and quality of life. In this regard especially permeability between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education is an important aspect.
The contribution presents selected findings of the Cedefop study "From credit systems to permeability in education and training" (Cedefop, 2011) that was carried out between December 2009 and December 2011. The study examined existing regulations, instruments and practices ("mechanisms") employed to facilitate permeability in education and training in the 32 countries taking part in the Education and Training 2010 work programme. The aim was to generate a comprehensive picture of the situation concerning permeability in European countries and to develop a typology of permeability mechanisms.
The first part of the paper deals with the theoretical framework on which the study was based and describes the development of the typology. The first step consists in the formulation of a "theoretical typology" of mechanisms on the basis of descriptors derived from a review of relevant research literature. This typology, which serves as the core element of the comparative analysis of mechanisms in the 32 countries, is constituted by three descriptors, namely the rationale (access, admission, exemption, full equivalence), basis (formal learning only vs. formal, non-formal and informal learning) and scope (individual, institutional, general) of permeability, whose various distinctions allow for a total of 24 possible combinations or types. In the course of the empirical analysis, mechanisms were compared with and situated within this typology. Out of the 24 theoretical types, 11 were found to be instantiated by existing mechanisms. These constitute the "empirical typology".
The second part of the contribution presents these empirical types and discusses their relevance across countries and educational sectors. In particular, the relationship between permeability types and systemic factors such as the VET tradition in a country will be addressed here. In the concluding part we present some reflections on the overall success factors and effects of permeability mechanisms.
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