True intentions of Vocational Education and Training – Beyond the Current VET System View (with Case Study)

Philosophy

copyright-symbols-and-rules-you-need-to-know-04 2015

Intellectual Property of Dr. Bruce D. Watson, DEd Melbourne and attributed authors as noted.

For Private individual use. All rights reserved.

Published: www.academia.edu

It is timely for governments and local communities to review the philosophy, people and processes of national vocational education and training (V.E.T.) reform to ensure that all stakeholders, including governments, industries and communities are on the same track. There is also evidence that communities want government resources to be allocated toward the kinds of community development projects and programs that address the philosophy, people and process of vocational education and training and not just products and outcomes. Townsend, Robert A (2004)Philosophy, people and process: a case-study of vocational education and training in a community development context. Coursework Master thesis thesis, Victoria University.

Miller (1994) argues that educational activities involved in education-for-work lack a coherent philosophic foundation to guide practice.

Guided reading

Section One – Voc. Ed.

Extracts and adapted from: Philosophical and Sociological Overview of Vocational Technical Education in Nigeria, By Kennedy, Odu Oji, College Student Journal , Vol. 46, No. 2 , June 2012

Vocational Technical Education is any kind of education which has the main purpose of preparing one for employment in recognized occupation, [it is not limited to the VET System as Universities and Professional Colleges also offer vocational education and training].

The foundation of vocational technical education is based on philosophy which was mainly established for self- employment and self-reliance of the individual(s) who partake in it.

Vocational technological education has remained a subordinate discipline in terms of societal recognition, adequate funding and parental/children choice.

Vocational technical education is defined by different authors in different ways. Okoro (1999) defined vocational education as all those experiences whereby an individual learns to carry on successfully, any useful occupation. These experiences may be organized and institutionalized or unorganized and haphazard. Simply put, vocational education may be looked at as a series of controlled and organized experiences arranged to prepare a person for socially useful employment. The statement explains that all education is vocational as far as the individual may serve happily on the job and prepares for satisfactory living.

In the views of Thompson (2002), vocational education aims at the development of human abilities in terms of knowledge, skills and understanding so efficiently in carrying on the activities in the vocational pursuits of his choice. Winer (2000) in his contribution opined that vocational education is designed to develop skills, abilities, understanding, attitudes, work habits and appreciation encompassing knowledge and information needed by workers to enter and make progress in employment on a useful and productive basis. It is an integral part of the total education programme and contributes towards the development of good citizens by developing their physical, social, civic, cultural and economic competencies.

For vocational education to be self-reliant and productive, it needs not be operated in a vacuum. It has to be hooked into factors that will help learners and all stakeholders in vocational technical education to be practical and not only theoretical in their approach to making vocational technical education meaningful and life-long. These factors according to Ezekiel and Usoroh (2009) are:

i) appreciation of dignity to work;

ii) utility and culture in vocational education;

iii) democracy in vocational education;

iv) plights of school dropouts;

v) economics of vocational education;

vi) needs of youths and adults;

vii) needs of the society; and

viii) basic rights of the citizenry.

Section Two – Philosophy in Work Education

Extracts and adapted from: The Role of Philosophy in Education-for-Work, Bruce Todd Strom, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, http://tinyurl.com/ops38o6

Philosophy has been defined as “a system of principles for guiding practical affairs” (Stein, 1980). Philosophical query asks why practitioners conduct practice in the manner they do, in order to (a) provoke reflection, (b) systematically analyze and evaluate procedures, and (c) determine the appropriate philosophy or philosophies to back or drive the practice.

Miller (1994) argues that educational activities involved in education-for-work lack a coherent philosophic foundation to guide practice.

He contends that philosophy is a means for building a vision for education-for-work in terms of purposes and practice. Education-for-work must identify philosophic foundations for practice, using them to prepare a workforce that will meet the needs of the workplace of the future. The philosophic foundations or principles that underlie practice in vocational education, human resource development (HRD), and adult education can be used by education-for-work practitioners to guide reflection on existing practices, establish new practices, and create visions for future practice.

Miller (1985) identified three primary philosophies of vocational education:

  • Essentialism: The educator or trainer is the focal point of the learning process; mastery of subject matter is important; development of skills through drills, repetition, conditioning, and development of desirable habits; a desire to influence the behavior of the learner.
  • Existentialism: The learner is the focus of the learning process; truth is relative; and personal growth and development are key to the process.
  • Pragmatism: The educator and learner are both important to the learning process; reality or real-world situations are stressed; context and experience are important; and the educator is progressive, and open to new ideas. (1985, pp. 196-198)

Miller (1994) stated that philosophy ought to provide the framework for establishing practice. Education-for-work practitioners should develop world views from which practice can be analyzed (McKenzie, 1991; Miller, 1994). Utilization of philosophic views gives education-for-work practitioners perspectives from which to view their roles in education.

The philosophies that have been identified here represent ways education-for-work practitioners can develop world views or modes of thinking about practice. Education-for-work practitioners should be able to explain why they conduct practice the way they do in terms of philosophic foundations or principles.

Education-for-work needs to adopt or develop well-defined philosophic principles that will guide, support, or create practice in changing workplaces. In order to meet the needs of the workplace of today and the future, education-for-work practitioners must build on the philosophies that promote both technical-vocational needs and personal development. Education-for-work must identify philosophic foundations for practice and use them to prepare a workforce that will meet the needs of the workplace of the future.

Section Three – Conceptual Frameworks

Extracts and adapted from: A Conceptual Framework for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Jay W. Rojewski, in International Handbook of Education for the Changing World of Work: Bridging Academic and Vocational Learning, Springer, 2009

Because of differing views about the nature of VET, a conceptual framework must accomplish several goals to be effective and useful, including:

(a) explaining the general purposes of VET:

(b) reflecting the underlying beliefs
and perspectives of its constituents; and

(c) shaping current activity and future
direction—it cannot be developed in a vacuum.

Many constituencies must be involved to provide a comprehensive view of VET and its applications in classrooms, boardrooms. living rooms and factory floors.

A conceptual framework contains:

(a) principles or generalizations that state preferred practices and serve as guidelines for programme and curriculum construction, selection of instructional practices, and policy development`; and

(b) philosophy which `makes assumptions and speculations about the nature of human activity and the nature of the world [and] helps vocational educators decide what shouldbe and what should be different` (Miller. I996. p. xiii).

Conceptual frameworks should accomplish several things, including:

(a) establish the parameters of a profession by delineating its mission and current practices;

(b) account for historical events by allowing understanding of how we got to where we are;

(c) establish the philosophical underpinnings of the field and underscore the relationships between philosophy and practice; and

(d) provide a forum for understanding directions of the field. A conceptual framework does not necessarily solve all problems or answer all questions. but it should provide a schema for identifying critical issues and allowing for solutions.

Frameworks should be fairly stable, but have the capacity to change
over time and adapt to external factors. Any conceptual framework for VET must be flexible enough to allow for differences in secondary or post-secondary programmes and accommodate changes in various economies and countries. but at the same time identify underlying assumptions, beliefs and values that are consistent for all types of programmes and are not readily subject to change. Not a small order!

Section Four – Case Study

Extracts and adapted from: Townsend, Robert A (2004) Philosophy, people and process: a case-study of vocational education and training in a community development context. Coursework Master thesis thesis, Victoria University

The Glassy Waters case-study reflects that although change is occurring on the edges of the vocational education and training (V.E.T.) sector in terms of the key tenets of national vocational education and training (V.E.T.) reform, the actual communities that are the target of these new services are a long way from being receptive of new learning cultures in either a theoretical or practical sense. The concepts of learning communities/regions and learning organisations are still just concepts and many individuals, communities and organisations are struggling to implement new principles of learning within long established community
structures.

Therefore, there is evidence that it is timely for governments and local communities to review the philosophy, people and processes of national vocational education and training (V.E.T.) reform to ensure that all stakeholders, including governments, industries and communities are on the same track.

There is also evidence that communities want government resources to be
allocated toward the kinds of community development projects and programs that address the philosophy, people and process of vocational education and training and not just products and outcomes.

Section Five – Current VET System Lack of Philosophical Coherency

Miller (1994) argues that educational activities involved in education-for-work lack a coherent philosophic foundation to guide practice.

See:

The ‘Industry/Business-led’ hijacking of the Australian VET Systemhttp://tinyurl.com/m8dvoyj

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s