International Review of Education

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 187–211 | Cite as

To vocationalize or not to vocationalize? That is the curriculum question

  • George Psacharopoulos


The paper presents a framework within which curriculum options can be analyzed, with emphasis on the economics of choosing the vocational intensity of instruction. Empirical evidence is reviewed at the primary, secondary and university levels regarding the costs and benefits of alternative programmes. Such evidence indicates that the costs of vocational programmes are considerably higher than those of general education, while their benefits are comparable. The paper questions the validity of providing more efficient alternatives like purely vocational institutions or employment-based training.


In dem nachfolgenden Artikel wird ein Bezugsrahmen entworfen, innerhalb dessen Optionen des Curriculums unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Wirtschaftlichkeit einer beruflichen Orientierung des Schulsystems analysiert werden können. Empirisches Beweismaterial wird auf Primär-, Sekundärund Universitätsebene im Hinblick auf Kosten und Nutzen alternativer Programme überprüft. Die Ergebnisse der Überprüfung zeigen, daß berufsorientierte Erziehung in der Regel höhere Kosten verursacht und weniger Nutzen erzeugt als das allgemeine Erziehungssystem. Der Autor bezweifelt die Gültigkeit der Berufsausbildung als Bestandteil des allgemeinen Erziehungssystems und empfiehlt effizientere Alternativen wie reine Berufsausbildungsinstitute oder eine auf Berufstätigkeit basierende Ausbildung.


L'article présente un cadre à l'intérieur duquel les choix de programmes peuvent être opérés en insistant sur les aspects économiques liés à la préférence pour l'intensité professionnelle de l'instruction. On y analyse des évidences empiriques recueillies aux niveaux primaire, secondaire et universitaire concernant les coûts et les bénéfices des programmes alternatifs. Ces données indiquent que les coûts de l'enseignement professionel sont considérablement plus élevés que ceux de l'enseignement général, alors que leurs bénéfices sont comparables. L'article met en cause le bienfondé de l'introduction d'un enseignement professionnel dans le courant principal de l'éducation et considère plus efficace d'avoir recours à d'autres alternatives comme les institutions pures de formation professionnelle ou celles de formation basée sur l'emploi.


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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

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  • George Psacharopoulos

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