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The future of technical and vocational education and training: Global challenges and possibilities

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Product Description

Edited by Rupert Maclean, Ada Lai

Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-921729-10-2
Pages: ii+178

Overview

A particularly important area of work and employment consists of those occupations which centre on the application of technical and vocational skills to the world of work. It is estimated that world-wide some 80% of all occupations are of this type (UNESCO-UNEVOC & UNESCO-UIS, 2006).

Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has fuelled phenomenal economic growth in some countries and fallen short of expectations in others; while globalization is prompting governments to take renewed interest in this branch of education, still perceived by some as second-class. The purpose of this double, special edition (volume 9/1-2) of the International Journal of Training Research is to explore key aspects of the current development of TVET in various countries.

What has not changed, and appears to be increasing, is the growing emphasis on lifelong learning-and relearning- associated with TVET. Jacques Delors wrote that ‘the concept of learning throughout life [...] emerges as one of the keys to the twenty-first century’. He further noted that the concept ‘goes beyond the traditional distinction between initial and continuing education [and] meets the challenges posed by a rapidly changing world’ (Delors et al., 1996, p. 22). The education and training of so-called knowledge workers suggests that this integration trend will predominate in the twenty-first century. This is because learning sophisticated technological concepts requires a sound foundation in mathematics, science and communications skills, and also an understanding of technology.

The global average is that one in five upper secondary students is enrolled in technical and vocational programmes. A recent trend is the enrolment of recent university graduates at community and technical colleges, to add occupation-specific credentials to their Bachelor of Arts degrees which have not led to their employment. Since many of these (mainly liberal arts) graduates are choosing TVET courses in the community and technical colleges, this trend - called reverse transfer - is important and is quite likely to become even more pronounced in the years to come. The education and training of knowledge workers requires different educational policies, facilities, curricula and, above all, teachers. Teachers must be transformed from those who impart knowledge to those who facilitate learning. Curricula must be transformed from mechanisms to deliver facts into mechanisms to promote and facilitate learning and thinking. Some writers assert that a competency- based approach to curriculum development can facilitate this transformation. TVET curricula have been in transition from its Industrial Age ‘mix’ of 50% theory and 50% practical to one that is 80% theory and 20% practical, paralleling the transition from the Industrial to the Information Age. This shift from a manipulative to a cognitive focus accompanies the convergence of ‘academic’ and TVET curricula.

Knowledge workers may be defined as those who use logical-abstract thinking to diagnose problems, research and apply knowledge, propose solutions, and design and implement those solutions, often as a team member. The impact of technological modernization upon many aspects of education-and particularly upon curricula-necessitates basing the education of future knowledge workers upon a firm foundation. This foundation should include provision of a sound understanding of mathematics, science, technology and communication skills. Rather than compartmentalizing knowledge, technology affects all aspects of life and necessitates a broader understanding of what technologies are, how they work, how they have been applied to real-world problems, and how they affect our lives. A policy encouraging continuous, lifelong learning should supplement the ‘basic training’ of knowledge workers by the delivery of ‘just-in-time’ education and training when new knowledge is required at the workplace.

TVET is currently faced with the challenges posed by the displacement of the traditionally strong focus upon manual work in favour of mental work, or at least the changing mixture of competencies required in the workplace. The boundaries between manual and mental work are fading away, as many traditional forms of work and the respective preparation processes for learning to work undergo change. Key problems in the field of TVET include pathways and content leading to generic or very specific professions and jobs.

Although this special issue of the International Journal of Training Research is a large, double issue, it is clearly beyond the scope of this volume to examine all, or even most, of the trends, issues and challenges currently facing TVET worldwide at the current time. However, this Special Issue does address some of these matters, and the authors of this special issue refer to issues and concerns in their various countries from different regions of the world.

Table of Contents

Editorial – The future of technical and vocational education and training: Global challenges and possibilities
– Rupert Maclean and Ada Lai

Skills and education for all from Jomtien (1990) to the GMR of 2012: A policy history
– Kenneth King

Where to now for vocational education and training in Africa?
– Simon McGrath

Teacher education in TVET: Developing a new paradigm
– Shyamal Majumdar

TVET and the poor: Challenges and possibilities
– Stephen Lamb

The implications of skills deepening for vocational education and training in Australia
– Tom Karmel

Is skills training a good investment for the poor? The evidence from Pakistan
– Shehryar Janjua

Informal training for skilled workers: Issues arising from a qualitative study in four sites in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
– Claire Noronha and Tanuka Endow

TVET initiatives in Southeast Asian countries in response to increasing labour mobility within the region and beyond
– Paryono

Global skills and mobility challenges and possibilities for VET: A cross-border cross-sectoral case study
– Roslyn Cameron and Terry O’Hanlon-Rose

Building future sustainability and democratic practices: The role of adult education in post-conflict communities
– Georgia Lysaght and Peter Kell

Offshore teaching practice in the Australia-Pacific Technical College: A case study in the South Pacific
– Anthony Bailey


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