Towards a mature provision of vocational education
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Accounts and analyses of vocational educators' practice, provided through the contributions to this special issue, illustrate how centrally-generated and prescriptive policies and practices and those teachers' reactions to them have come to characterise contemporary vocational education. The application of often centralised institutional architectures, their measures and procedures, along with the quest for measurable outcomes, commonly appear to deny the diversity of interests, intents and capacities of those who engage with these provisions as students, apprentices and teachers. These centralised kinds of provisions then can generate tensions between those who seek to enact educational experiences (that is, teachers) and those who have devised the policies and practices that act as 'practice architectures' that both enable and constrain vocational educators' work. Rather than addressing the key global problem of the standing of vocational education, and its teachers and students, these centralised measures often seem to contribute to, reproduce, and sustain the low standing of vocational education and focus on securing institutional goals. In turn, this low standing beggars vocational education by limiting the capacity to engage teachers, students and industries, thereby undercutting its ability to fulfil its potential. The articles in this special issue reinforce the need for a mature vocational education system where teachers have the capacities and are granted the legitimacy to practice in ways that meet local needs and adapt to local circumstances in which they teach and their students learn. Instead of being pre-occupied with exercising the architecture of control and compliance, those in government and in industry might best direct effort to granting greater autonomy to vocational educators and by taking action to redress the poor societal sentiment towards vocational education through championing its worth and contributions.
International Journal of Training Research
© 2013 e-Content Management Pty Ltd. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version
Technical, Further and Workplace Education