Higher level vocational education: the route to high skills and productivity as well as greater equity? An international comparative analysis

Ann-Marie Bathmaker, Lukas Graf, Kevin Orr, Justin Powell, Sue Webb, Leesa Wheelahan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


    This international comparative analysis of higher level vocational education examines developments across five countries: England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and the USA. The authors consider how current developments address two key policy concerns: an emphasis on high skills as a means of achieving economic competitiveness and raising productivity; and the promise of increasing access for students hitherto excluded from higher education. We address these questions in relation to specific country contexts, in order to highlight similarities and differences in developments within the European arena and in a wider global context. We locate our analyses in an understanding of the different political and socio-economic conditions within different countries, which render particular reforms and innovations both possible and realizable in one context, but almost unthinkable in another. We argue for the need to recognize and embrace diversity in provision, while using comparison across countries as a means of challenging taken-for-granted assumptions of how things are and what is possible within individual country contexts. Such comparative analysis is a prerequisite for answering questions of policy transfer and learning from others.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTrends in vocational education and training research
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Vocational Education and Training Network (VETNET)
    EditorsChristof Nägele, Barbara E. Stalder
    Place of PublicationBern Switzerland
    PublisherVocational Education and Training Network (VETNET)
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)9781723598005
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    EventEuropean Conference on Educational Research 2018 - Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bolazno, Italy
    Duration: 4 Sept 20187 Sept 2018


    ConferenceEuropean Conference on Educational Research 2018
    Abbreviated titleECER 2018
    Internet address


    • higher vocational education
    • equity
    • higher level skills
    • comparison

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