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The vocational–academic divide in neoliberal upper secondary curricula: the Swedish case
Göterborgs universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0530-6378
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3737-3244
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5222-6229
2017 (English)In: Journal of education policy, ISSN 0268-0939, E-ISSN 1464-5106, Vol. 32, no 6, 788-808 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A historical tension between a more general and a more specific focus in post-compulsory education is made visible in some educational systems by the division into more academic and more vocational programmes. Embedded in this tension are questions of social justice and the purposes of education. In addition, division into academic and vocational programmes has class dimensions since youth with working class backgrounds are often over-represented in vocational programmes. This study investigates how this tension is handled in the Swedish upper secondary curriculum, which reflects an international neoliberal policy trend in promoting competition, employability and employer influence over the curriculum. By analysing how the educational content of vocational educational and training (VET) programmes and higher educational preparatory (HEP) programmes is contextualised, we found that the two programme types were based on very different logics. In VET programmes, knowledge is strongly context-bound and often related to regulating behaviours. This contrasts sharply with the way knowledge is contextualised in HEP programmes in which less context-bound knowledge and skills such as using concepts, models and critical thinking are dominant. Students in VET programmes are trained to ‘do’ and to ‘adapt’, while the students in HEP programmes are trained to ‘think’ and to ‘imagine possibilities’. Thus, students from different social classes are prepared for very different roles in society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2017. Vol. 32, no 6, 788-808 p.
Keyword [en]
Curriculum evaluation, vocational education, equal education, social class
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-135197DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2017.1318455ISI: 000407642500005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-135197DiVA: diva2:1097175
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-02002
Available from: 2017-05-22 Created: 2017-05-22 Last updated: 2017-10-03Bibliographically approved

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Nylund, MattiasRosvall, Per-ÅkeLedman, Kristina
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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More languages
Output format
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