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Vocational Education and Training

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Vocational Education and Training

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  • April 26, 2005
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THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN VOCATIONAL ASPECTS TO SCHOOLING IN AUSTRALIA. HOWEVER, IN RECENT TIMES THERE HAS BEEN AN INCREASED EMPHASIS ON THIS ASPECT OF SCHOOLING WITHIN BOTH THE GENERAL CURRICULUM AND THOSE AREAS THAT HAVE A PARTICULAR VOCATIONAL FLAVOUR. IN WHAT WAYS DOES THIS EMPHASIS PROVIDE A BROADER OR NARROWER CONCEPTION OF EDUCTION FOR SCHOOL STUDENTS? YOUR RESPONSE NEEDS TO REFER TO: (I) THE AIMS OF THE ‘NEW VOCATIONALISM' AND HOW IT IS CURRENTLY BEING MANIFESTED IN SECONDARY SCHOOLING; (II) HOW EQUALITY OF OUTCOMES FOR ALL SENIOR STUDENTS CAN BE MANAGED AT AT TIME OF HIGH STUDENT RETENTION IN THE POST-COMPULSORY YEARS AND (III) A CRITIQUE OF THE CURRENT VET IN SCHOOLS POLICY.

Aims and Origins of New Vocationalism
What is vocational education? That depends on the period in history and whom you ask. There is probably no greater bone of contention or confusion among educators. Vocational education or educating students to fulfil their vocation or calling in life is such a broad definition. Traditionally it has been seen as an education for those not taking up tertiary studies, for those who instead undertake hands on training before entering the world of work. If this then is the definition, entry to some of the most highly regarded professions, is through vocational education. Take for example the doctor, teacher or the architect. In each of these cases the undergraduate student must undertake some form of on the job training and examination in order to receive their registration. This then changes the focus of vocational education. No longer can we look from the traditional view that it is for tradespeople, or blue-collar workers. We must then take a more encompassing view that it is necessary element of education for all students, to give them the grounding to deal with the challenges of the work force, regardless of the esteem the work they will ultimately do is held in.

Vocational Education is certainly not a new phenomenon. It has...