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Köpsén, J. (2019). Demands-based and employer-driven curricula: defining knowledge in higher vocational education and training. Studies in Continuing Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Demands-based and employer-driven curricula: defining knowledge in higher vocational education and training
2019 (English)In: Studies in Continuing Education, ISSN 0158-037X, E-ISSN 1470-126XArticle in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Access to, and participation in, higher education is expanding. Commonalities in the organisation of this expansion are distinctive vocational pathways, liberal marketisation and significant employer influence. However, whether this expanded access to higher education in vocational pathways is contributing to opportunities of social mobility for the students accessing higher education in this way is questioned. This article explores one way to investigate this by focusing on knowledge in VET curricula – specifically knowledge which students in higher VET get access to. Knowledge in VET curricula can both reproduce existing social divisions and inequalities or support social mobility, as knowledge may both include and exclude from social power. Thus, possible reproduction of stratification may be tracked in formation of curricula. In this article, the Swedish system of higher VET established in 2009 serves as the case for a policy analysis examining what knowledge policy defines for higher VET curricula. The analysis shows a dominant definition of legitimate knowledge as that generated in the production of goods and services and selected by locally involved employers. This is a definition of knowledge for higher VET in line with a global focus on differentiation in higher education rather than on equality of outcomes.

Keywords
vocational education and training (VET), continuing VET, higher education, education policy, curriculum, social mobility
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-160134 (URN)10.1080/0158037X.2019.1661238 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-09-08 Created: 2019-09-08 Last updated: 2019-11-27
Köpsén, J. (2019). Higher VET in Sweden: A new approach to curricular formation. In: F. Marhuenda & M.J. Chisvert-Tarazona (Ed.), Pedagogical concerns and market demands in VET: Proceedings of the 3rd Crossing Boundaries in VET conference, Vocational Education and Training Network (VETNET): . Paper presented at 3rd Crossing Boundaries in VET conference, Valencia 2-3 may 2019 (pp. 112-116).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Higher VET in Sweden: A new approach to curricular formation
2019 (English)In: Pedagogical concerns and market demands in VET: Proceedings of the 3rd Crossing Boundaries in VET conference, Vocational Education and Training Network (VETNET) / [ed] F. Marhuenda & M.J. Chisvert-Tarazona, 2019, p. 112-116Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper concerns a study on policy on Swedish Higher Vocational Education (HVE). It’s focus is on how policy define what knowledge should form curricula in HVE. Documents have been thematically analysed using Bernsteinian theory of recontextualization and concep- tualisation of knowledge as either horizontal or vertical. Findings show that the creation of curricula has been positioned away from the national public context and positioned in the lo- cal contexts of programme provision. It is also found that knowledge in HVE programmes should be generated in the production of goods and services and is considered legitimate if selected by employers. The paper discusses how HVE reproduces existing social divisions and students’ positions in social hierarchy as wage labour workers and that the definition of knowledge is based on employers’ demands, neglecting knowledge forming autonomous workers and individuals with full democratic inclusion and participation in civic practice.

Keywords
higher vocational education; curriculum; labour market relevance; educational policy
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-156670 (URN)10.5281/zenodo.2641740 (DOI)
Conference
3rd Crossing Boundaries in VET conference, Valencia 2-3 may 2019
Funder
Linköpings universitet
Available from: 2019-05-07 Created: 2019-05-07 Last updated: 2019-05-07
Köpsén, J. (2019). Higher vocational education and training for adults in Sweden: Policy and Curricula. In: Prof. Aleksandra Pejatović, Ph.D. Assistant Nikola Koruga, MA. (Ed.), ESREA 9th Triennial European Research Conference: Adult education research and practice: between the welfare state and neoliberalism: . Paper presented at ESREA 9th Triennial European Research Conference (pp. 84-85). Belgrade: Institute for Pedagogy and Andragogy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade & European Society for Research on the Education of Adults
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Higher vocational education and training for adults in Sweden: Policy and Curricula
2019 (English)In: ESREA 9th Triennial European Research Conference: Adult education research and practice: between the welfare state and neoliberalism / [ed] Prof. Aleksandra Pejatović, Ph.D. Assistant Nikola Koruga, MA., Belgrade: Institute for Pedagogy and Andragogy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade & European Society for Research on the Education of Adults , 2019, p. 84-85Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Framing the theme for the ESREA 9th Triennial European Research Conference, the changes in the past two decades to the landscape in which European adult education is set, is presented as fundamental. During these two decades, the policy on, and provision of, Swedish post-secondary vocational education and training (VET) has evolved. New forms of continuing VET are emerging in countries all across the world, and diversity in the formation and provision in institutional contexts is growing, as issues of access to – and widening participation in – higher education and questions of lifelong learning and social mobility are globally prominent themes in policy (Boeren and James 2017; Bathmaker 2017). In Sweden, this type of continuing education is since 2009 organised in what is called Higher Vocational Education (HVE). This is a national example of a system where employers have great influence, that is separate from academic and professional higher education and where provision is organised as a market. Alongside state funded initiatives concerning initial VET in municipal adult education the establishment of the HVE system have been implied to reflect the liberal conservative government’s ‘work strategy’, a principle making employment the one crucial bearer of social inclusion (Andersson & Wärvik, 2012). 

In HVE there is no national curricula, representatives of employers and the education providers are to convene directly with one another to select what skills and competences the HVE programmes should involve to meet the needs of the employers. But what knowledge form curricula and course syllabi in HVE? The aim of this paper is to explore how policy define this knowledge and how this can be understood in relation to questions of lifelong learning and social mobility. Fourteen Swedish policy documents, published between 2006 and 2017, relating to post-secondary VET and the establishment of HVE have been analysed in a theoretical thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). To interpret the knowledge defined and to consider its implications the conceptualisation of knowledge as either horizontal or vertical discourse is used (Bernstein, 2000). This theoretical framework is used as it enables insights into how the structuring of knowledge in VET is a relay for power and how social power relations are mediated and reproduced through curricula, as shown in previous studies of VET curricula (e.g., Bathmaker 2013; Nylund, Rosvall, and Ledman 2017; Nylund and Rosvall 2016; Gamble 2014; Wheelahan 2007).

Findings reveal two inconsistent definitions of what knowledge should form HVE curricula. Originally, knowledge for HVE curricula was defined as knowledge generated in the production of goods and services and selected by employers. This is segmented, context specific and procedural knowledge realised as horizontal discourse. However, in 2016 this definition was coupled with another definition based on the Swedish adaptation of the European Qualification Framework. This definition mainly entails disciplinary knowledge realised in vertical discourse unbound by context. The discussion of this paper relates to previous research on curricula in VET (Gamble, 2016; Wheelahan, 2015) and the research questions guiding the analysis are focused on selection, organisation and valuation of knowledge in curricula (Bernstein, 2000; Wheelahan, 2015; Young, 2006).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Belgrade: Institute for Pedagogy and Andragogy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade & European Society for Research on the Education of Adults, 2019
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-160564 (URN)978-86-80712-28-4 (ISBN)
Conference
ESREA 9th Triennial European Research Conference
Available from: 2019-09-28 Created: 2019-09-28 Last updated: 2019-09-28
Köpsén, J. (2019). Post-secondary VET in Sweden: Curricula in Higher Vocational Education. In: : . Paper presented at NERA 2019 - 47th CONGRESS Education in a globalized world. Uppsala, Sweden 6 - 8 March 2019.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Post-secondary VET in Sweden: Curricula in Higher Vocational Education
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Swedish post-secondary VET is since 2009 organised in what is called Higher Vocational Education (HVE). Alongside state funded initiatives concerning initial VET in municipal adult education the establishment of the HVE system have been implied to reflect the liberal conservative government’s ‘work strategy’, a principle making employment the one crucial bearer of social inclusion, in using adult education to satisfy short-term labour market needs of business and industry (Andersson & Wärvik, 2012). In 2016 the nearly 50 000 students partaking in HVE programmes made up about just a bit over 10 % of students in Swedish higher education, provided the HVE students are included in the total tally alongside students at universities and university colleges. In the year 2022 the number of HVE students is intended to be 70 000, indicating a rapid expansion (National Agency for Higher Vocational Education, 2017, 2018; Swedish Higher Education Authority, 2017).

An analysis of HVE policy have elucidated the conditions for the process of recontextualizing knowledge in curricula construction (Author, nd). Results show how representatives of employers and the education providers are to convene directly with one another to select what skills and competences the HVE programmes should involve to meet the needs of the employers. A junction between these two type of actors, without any involvement from for instance a national regulatory body, is something different then the more common linear course of curricular formation (Bernstein, 1996). 

Analysing a broad set of data, including interviews with actors in HVE, observations from meeting where employers and education providers convene as well as course syllabi for programmes this paper will examine HVE curricula making.

The discussion of this paper relates to previous research on curricula in VET (Gamble, 2016; Hodge, 2016; Wheelahan, 2015)and the research questions guiding the analysis are focused on selection, organisation and valuation of knowledge (Bernstein, 1990, 1996, 1999; Wheelahan, 2015; Young, 2006, 2013)

Keywords
VET, post-secondary VET, curriculum, educational policy
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-155063 (URN)
Conference
NERA 2019 - 47th CONGRESS Education in a globalized world. Uppsala, Sweden 6 - 8 March 2019
Funder
Linköpings universitet
Available from: 2019-03-11 Created: 2019-03-11 Last updated: 2019-03-11
Köpsén, J. (2019). Post-secondary VET in Sweden: Knowledge in curricula of Higher Vocational Education. In: : . Paper presented at NORDYRK 2019 Learning and working life competencies in a future perspective – challenges in professional education.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Post-secondary VET in Sweden: Knowledge in curricula of Higher Vocational Education
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates how Swedish policy define what knowledge should form curricula for programmes in the Swedish post-secondary VET system called Higher Vocational Education (HVE) where curricula and course syllabi are created locally for each programme by employers. The analysis is led by the research question ‘How do policy define what knowledge should form curricula in HVE?’ and the analysis uses the conceptualisation of knowledge realised as either horizontal or vertical discourse (Bernstein, 1999).

The system of HVE is a market of both public and private provision and characterised by great employer influence and it is separate from academic and professional higher education.

HVE is one example of the many emerging formations of post-secondary VET in countries all across the world, in which diversity of provision in institutional contexts as well as in working life is expanding. An expansion that is widening accessibility to higher education and that may be providing possibilities of social mobility for disadvantaged groups historically excluded from higher education. However, research in the field raises the question if the expanded access and vocational pathways in higher education actually are reducing inequalities (e.g., Bathmaker, 2017; Giani & Fox, 2017; Marginson, 2016). Participation in higher education is not to be presumed as supporting processes for flattened social division.

The paper presents the results of a qualitative study using theoretical thematic analysis of policy documents. Fourteen Swedish public documents, published between 2006 and 2017, relating to post-secondary VET and the establishment of HVE have been analysed.

The analysis reveals two definitions of what knowledge should form HVE curricula, however these are inconsistent with each other. Originally, knowledge was defined as generated in the production of goods and services and selected by employers. This is segmented, context specific and procedural knowledge realised as horizontal discourse. In 2016 another definition based on the Swedish adaptation of the European Qualification Framework was introduced trough changes in regulation. The new definition mainly entails disciplinary knowledge realised in vertical discourse unbound by context. However, as the idea that curricula should be employer-driven is consistent throughout the material, as well as over time, the original definition of knowledge as horizontal discourse appears as the dominant one.

Bathmaker, A.-M. (2017). Post-secondary education and training, new vocational and hybrid pathways and questions of equity, inequality and social mobility: introduction to the special issue. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 69(1), 1-9. doi:10.1080/13636820.2017.1304680 

Bernstein, B. (1999). Vertical and Horizontal Discourse: An essay. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 20(2), 157-173. doi:10.1080/01425699995380 

Marginson, S. (2016). The worldwide trend to high participation higher education: dynamics of social stratification in inclusive systems. Higher Education, 72(4), 413-434. doi:10.1007/s10734-016-0016-x  

Giani, M., & Fox, L. (2017). Do stackable credentials reinforce stratification or promote upward mobility? An analysis of health professions pathways reform in a community college consortium. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 69(1), 100-122. doi:10.1080/13636820.2016.1238837 

Keywords
knowledge, curriculum, higher vocational education
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-157492 (URN)
Conference
NORDYRK 2019 Learning and working life competencies in a future perspective – challenges in professional education
Available from: 2019-06-14 Created: 2019-06-14 Last updated: 2019-06-14
Köpsén, J. & Swahn, R. (2019). Yrkesutbildning och styrdokument (2ed.). In: Susanne Köpsén (Ed.), Lära till yrkeslärare: (pp. 59-87). Lund: Studentlitteratur AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Yrkesutbildning och styrdokument
2019 (Swedish)In: Lära till yrkeslärare / [ed] Susanne Köpsén, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2019, 2, p. 59-87Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2019 Edition: 2
Keywords
Yrkespedagoger
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-159345 (URN)9789144132259 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-08-08 Created: 2019-08-08 Last updated: 2019-11-11Bibliographically approved
Köpsén, J. (2018). Higher VET in Sweden: A policy of market driven education and employability. In: : . Paper presented at NERA 2018 - 46th CONGRESS Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges Olso, Norway 8 - 10 March 2018.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Higher VET in Sweden: A policy of market driven education and employability
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The labour markets around the world are changing and political leaders of many countries find themselves facing high unemployment rates. In many cases their answer is “Give the workers new skills!” In Sweden, the Higher Vocational Education (the HVE) allow adult students to further or change their careers. The HVE-programmes can only be given if there is an explicit demand from employers pledging their needs and involvement.

The HVE has an increasing political importance and growing share in the Swedish educational system. It is getting bigger, and is used extensively as a good example. Politicians and social commentators are using the good results regarding employment rate of students who graduated (ca 90 %) as a justification for designing other forms of education and labour market interventions after the HVE-model. Studies done, examining the HVE, are less than a handful and all commissioned work from the responsible national agency. There is a gap in the research field and a need to study this new form of education operating on different logics than the rest of the Swedish educational system.

Within the HVE there is a wide range of programmes in many different fields of study, all at non-academic tertiary level. What programmes are offered in the HVE varies over time since it is there to meet the needs of a changing labour market. Students can graduate with skills appropriate for working as for instance train drivers, technicians, health administrators, veterinary assistants, pharmacy technicians or managers in hotels and restaurants.

This paper presents early results from a doctoral study contributing to the exploration of VET and higher VET trough examining the phenomenon of relations between policy and it’s realisation in the HVE. As a first part of a two-part study, policy documents are analysed using curriculum theory and the concepts developed in the work of Basil Bernstein, e.g. classification, framing, code as well as horizontal and vertical discourses. The analysed material consists of documents created in policy processes, the law; ‘the act of Higher Vocational Education’ and documents of regulation regarding the HVE. This material is complemented by instructional material presented by the responsible national agency aimed at the education providers running HVE-programmes.

The results display the governing of a new type of education, essentially different to what constitutes the traditional emancipatory Swedish ideal of adult education. 

Keywords
Higher VET, policy, discourse, curriculum, employability
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-145351 (URN)
Conference
NERA 2018 - 46th CONGRESS Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges Olso, Norway 8 - 10 March 2018
Funder
Linköpings universitet
Available from: 2018-02-24 Created: 2018-02-24 Last updated: 2019-03-11
Köpsén, J. (2017). Higher VET in Sweden: A curriculum study. In: : . Paper presented at NORDYRK 2017 TEMA: YRKESUTBILDNING FÖR FRAMTIDEN! Falun, Sweden 7 – 9 juni 2017.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Higher VET in Sweden: A curriculum study
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the focus and theoretical outline of a doctoral study contributing to the exploration of VET and higher VET. This is done by examining policy and its implementation, as well as relations between the two, in the Higher Vocational Education (the HVE, In Swedish: Yrkeshögskolan or YH). The inquiries will be considered in a two-step policy ethnographical study combining analysis of policy documents with case studies of HVE-programmes and their management.

The HVE has a growing share in the Swedish educational system. It is getting bigger, and is used extensively as a good example. Politicians and social commentators are using the good results regarding employment rate of students who graduated (ca 90 %) as a justification for designing other forms of education and labour market interventions after the HVE-model.

The political leaders fashioned an educational structure trying to perfectly match the labour market when creating the HVE in 2009. Within the HVE there is a wide range of programmes in many different fields of study, all at non-academic tertiary level and the HVE allow adult students to further or change their careers trough an educational type where programmes only are given if there is an explicit demand from employers pledging their needs and involvement. This means that there is a close, albeit compulsory, relation between education and employers giving the HVE and its programmes a distinctive character.

Studies done, examining the HVE, are less than a handful and all commissioned work from the responsible national agency. There is a gap in the research field and a need to study this new form of education. I will be exploring policy and implementation in the HVE in a curriculum study making use of the Bernsteinian concepts of curriculum theory; Classification, framing and code.

Keywords
Higher VET, policy, curriculum theory
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-145350 (URN)
Conference
NORDYRK 2017 TEMA: YRKESUTBILDNING FÖR FRAMTIDEN! Falun, Sweden 7 – 9 juni 2017
Funder
Linköpings universitet
Available from: 2018-02-24 Created: 2018-02-24 Last updated: 2018-02-24
Köpsén, J. (2017). Higher VET in Sweden: A policy of market driven education and employability. In: : . Paper presented at 12th JVET Conference Researching Policy and Practice in Vocational Education and Training Worcester College, Oxford, 7th – 9th July 2017.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Higher VET in Sweden: A policy of market driven education and employability
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The labour markets around the world are changing and political leaders of many countries find themselves facing high unemployment rates. In many cases their answer is “Give the workers new skills!” In Sweden, the Higher Vocational Education (the HVE) allow adult students to further or change their careers. The HVE-programmes can only be given if there is an explicit demand from employers pledging their needs and involvement. This paper ties into several of the conference themes focusing on ‘higher VET’ and ‘VET policymaking’.

The HVE has an increasing political importance and growing share in the Swedish educational system. It is getting bigger, and is used extensively as a good example. Politicians and social commentators are using the good results regarding employment rate of students who graduated (ca 90 %) as a justification for designing other forms of education and labour market interventions after the HVE-model. Studies done, examining the HVE, are less than a handful and all commissioned work from the responsible national agency. There is a gap in the research field and a need to study this new form of education operating on different logics than the rest of the Swedish educational system.

Within the HVE there is a wide range of programmes in many different fields of study, all at non-academic tertiary level. What programmes are offered in the HVE varies over time since it is there to meet the needs of a changing labour market. Students can graduate with skills appropriate for working as for instance train drivers, technicians, health administrators, veterinary assistants, pharmacy technicians or managers in hotels and restaurants.

This paper presents early results from a doctoral study contributing to the exploration of VET and higher VET trough examining the phenomenon of relations between policy and implementation in the HVE. As a first part of a two-part study, policy documents are analysed using curriculum theory and the concepts developed in the work of Basil Bernstein, e.g. classification, framing, code as well as horizontal and vertical discourses. The analysed material consists of law; ‘the act of Higher Vocational Education’ and documents of regulation regarding the HVE. This material is complemented by instructional material presented by the responsible national agency aimed at the education providers running HVE-programmes.

The results display the governing of a new type of education, essentially different to what constitutes the traditional emancipatory Swedish ideal of adult education. 

Keywords
Higher VET, policy, discourse, curriculum, employability
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-145349 (URN)
Conference
12th JVET Conference Researching Policy and Practice in Vocational Education and Training Worcester College, Oxford, 7th – 9th July 2017
Funder
Linköpings universitet
Available from: 2018-02-24 Created: 2018-02-24 Last updated: 2018-02-24
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-3150-4853

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