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Integration Between School and Work: Changes and Challenges in the Swedish VET 1970–2011

  • Gun-Britt WärvikEmail author
  • Viveca Lindberg
Chapter
Part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (TVET, volume 29)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on Swedish upper secondary vocational education and training (USVET) and evolving conditions for the integration of education in schools and workplaces, as intended in the goals of three upper secondary school curricular reforms of 1970, 1994, and 2011. These reforms have transformed educational traditions in response to new societal expectations arising from changing working life and educational individualisation. Two occupational areas—healthcare and the textile industry—serve as examples that, over several decades, have been exposed to radical transformations in production and their contributions to the economy. Accordingly, the demands of occupational competencies have changed. The chapter is mainly based on secondary analyses of empirical research. Activity theoretical concepts are used as a lens for analysing changes. The main findings highlight different societal motives for education and the labour market under each of the three reforms, which impacted the objects formulated for USVET and the general organisation of how USVET was to be realised. A notable difference was the emphasis on vocational or general content, which has changed the ways in which integration between school and work has been realised. In both healthcare and the textile industry, VET teachers have been the main mediating agents of integration, albeit with a diminished role, since their contact and engagement with work sites became limited to a few visits. Teachers are now dependent on workplace activities they are not part of, yet have the responsibility to enact the curriculum in ways needed to optimise integration. The point being made here is that teachers’ roles in integration need to be understood in terms of cultural and historical contexts that influence the quality of integration they are able to enact and facilitate.

Keywords

Upper secondary school VET Vocational curriculum Vocational education policy Vocational teachers Activity theory Societal motives Mediating agents 

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education and Special EducationUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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