04 SES 05 A, Secondary Education
In Norwegian history, the school for all is seen as a lever for the nation’s democratisation. As stated by the government’s all-inclusive policy: “Education and training is regarded as means of promoting equity, and for reducing inequalities, poverty and other forms of marginalisation” (NMER, 2008). Through broad socio-historical transformations, the vision of a school for all have been robust, albeit always being subject to discussion, rendered partial and in the process of becoming. Supported by on-going reform dynamics the comprehensive school [Norwegian: grunnopplæring] has gradually widened its scope. Now, at the level of educational policy, including all students regardless of place of residence, social background, gender, ethnicity, ability and attainments, all through the 13 years of primary, lower and upper secondary education. Conjoint with these integrating processes at the political level, an ever-increasing mixture of internal differential structures has developed within schools; particularly special educational needs provision and a range of alternative courses, in which groups of students in various manners are connected to and disconnected from the school’s curricula and learning communities.
With an ambition to add to the knowledge of current processes of inclusion and exclusion within schools, the aim of the study reported in this paper is to investigate the alternative strand of courses in upper secondary education and training, namely alternative VET courses with extended workplace practice. The research interest is to investigate how these are connected to the regular programs and how they play into the construction of a school for all. This being the background, the study addresses the following research questions:
What is the nature of the alternative VET courses and how do these courses play into the on-going construction of a school for all?
The analysis of the alternative programmes is performed within the interdisciplinary field of educational sciences and draws upon a broad range of research which address ‘the school for all’ (Ainscow & Miles 2008, Vislie 2006, Slee 2011), dropout and completion in upper secondary school (Lamb et al 2011, Markussen 2009, Nevøy et al. 2013), and the purpose of education (Biesta 2009). Furthermore, an institutional approach is applied (Scott 1995, Skrtic 2010). From this position the construction of the programmes as institutional practices is seen as historically situated within specific socio-historical contexts, constituted by shared practices, rules, and moral and linguistic forms of meaning, which over extended periods are taken as given by the majority in the field. Although this perspective represents continuity, change is an inherent part of institutional practises; it takes place as institutions interpret and respond to external events and to social and political processes.
Ainscow, M. & Miles, S. (2008). Making Education for All inclusive: where next? Prospects, 38:15-34. Biesta, G. (2009). Good education in an age of measurement: on the need to reconnect with the question of purpose in education. Educational Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability, 21:33-46. Lamb, S. et al (2011, forthcoming), (eds.) School dropout and completion: international comparative studies in theory and policy. Springer: Dordrecht. Nevøy, A., Rasmussen, A., Ohna, S. E., Barrow, T. (2013) Nordic upper secondary school: regular and irregular programmes – or just one irregular school for all? In Imsen, G. & U. Blossing, “The Nordic Education Model: “A School for All” Encounters Neo-Liberal Policy”. Springer. Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (NMER) (2008). All inclusive …? The development of education. National Report of Norway to the UNESCO / IBE conference ICE 48: Inclusive education: The way of the future. Geneva, November, 25-28. Ohna, S. E. (2013). Alternativ opplæring med utvidet praksis: deltakelse, læring og måloppnåelse. Rapporter fra Universitetet i Stavanger, No 38. [Alternative courses with extended workplace practice: participation, learning and attainment, Report from University of Stavanger.] Scott, W. R. (1995). Institutions and Organizations. California: Sage Publications. Skritic, T.M, & McCall, Z. (2010). Why Is There Learning Disabilities? Disability Studies Quarterly. Slee, R. (2011). The Irregular school. Exclusion, Schooling and Inclusive Education. London: Routledge. Vislie, L. (2006). Special Education under the Modernity: From Restricted Liberty, through Organized Modernity, to Extended Liberty and a Plurality of Practices. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 21, 4: 395-414. Yin, R. (2009) Case study research : design and methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage
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