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Bridging the gaps: Recent reforms and innovations in Swedish VET to handle the current challenges
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Sociology. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Work and Working Life. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Nord-VET)
2015 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this report we discuss the recent reforms and other innovations within Swedish initial VET since the mid of 1990s. Using a descriptive approach, we will analyse the current state of play for initial VET in relation to what we in the Nord-VET project address as key challenges for the Nordic VET systems. One of the challenges concerns the double challenge of creating and maintaining strong links between education and the labour market while at the same time securing young people’s pathways to further studies and higher education. Related to this double challenge is the associated policy-goal for achieving parity of esteem between general and vocational upper secondary education respective social inclusive goals. However, the different policy-goals of initial VET can sometimes come in conflict. That is, something that is intended as an improvement in one area can have negative side effects in another area, thus leading to a numbers of dilemmas for policy-makers.

Regarding the sources or agency for innovations in the field of initial VET one may distinguish a range of various sources, such as: politically initiated innovations; internal initiation of education change (e.g. the initiatives of education personnel); external transactions where groups outside education impose new demands and pressures on schools (Lundahl, 2011; Billett, 2014). The first part of the report illuminates governmental reforms and innovations that might indicate more or less profound changes within the school-based VET-system in Sweden. Here, the latest educational reform of upper secondary school and the political movement to create a stronger fit between initial VET and working life, including the reintroduction of regular apprenticeship programmes in the gymnasium, is a case in point.

Such politically driven reforms and innovations can in turn be analysed in relation to the institutional preparedness of school institutions and labour market organisations to make the indented education changes to happen in reality. Even if school institutions are influenced by educational policies, they enjoy a relative autonomy vis-á-vis governmental politics. In consequence, adjustments and different interpretations of political reforms are made in school settings in accordance with the values, norms, and conditions that constitute and reproduce the institutions (Streek & Thelen, 2005). Besides changes initiated by governmental politics, the report will also point at the recent innovations emerging from different labour market sectors that need skills provisions from upper secondary schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Roskilde: Nord-VET, Roskilde University, 2015, Denmark , 2015. , 37 p.
, Nord-VET- The future of vocational education and training, 3
Keyword [en]
History; Education and training reform; Education and training system; Transition from education and training to employment; Transition from secondary to further education and training
National Category
Pedagogical Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130567ISBN: 978-87-7349-877-4OAI: diva2:953133
Nord-VET- the future of vocational education and training in the Nordic countries
Nordic Council of Ministers
Available from: 2016-08-16 Created: 2016-08-16 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved

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Persson Thunqvist, Daniel
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