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ERIC Number: EJ1152149
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0268-0939
The Vocational-Academic Divide in Neoliberal Upper Secondary Curricula: The Swedish Case
Nylund, Mattias; Rosvall, Per-Åke; Ledman, Kristina
Journal of Education Policy, v32 n6 p788-808 2017
A historical tension between a more general and a more specific focus in post-compulsory education is made visible in some educational systems by the division into more academic and more vocational programmes. Embedded in this tension are questions of social justice and the purposes of education. In addition, division into academic and vocational programmes has class dimensions since youth with working class backgrounds are often over-represented in vocational programmes. This study investigates how this tension is handled in the Swedish upper secondary curriculum, which reflects an international neoliberal policy trend in promoting competition, employability and employer influence over the curriculum. By analysing how the educational content of vocational educational and training (VET) programmes and higher educational preparatory (HEP) programmes is contextualised, we found that the two programme types were based on very different logics. In VET programmes, knowledge is strongly context-bound and often related to regulating behaviours. This contrasts sharply with the way knowledge is contextualised in HEP programmes in which less context-bound knowledge and skills such as using concepts, models and critical thinking are dominant. Students in VET programmes are trained to "do" and to "adapt", while the students in HEP programmes are trained to "think" and to "imagine possibilities". Thus, students from different social classes are prepared for very different roles in society.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A