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ERIC Number: EJ818597
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 48
ISSN: ISSN-0268-0939
Democratising the Curriculum or Training the Children of the Poor: School-Based Vocational Training in Australia
Polesel, John
Journal of Education Policy, v23 n6 p615-632 Nov 2008
Historically grounded in a tradition of meeting local skills needs and training the children of the poor, vocational education and training (VET) in schools continues to struggle in terms of esteem and parity of status. Associated in the literature with the training of a reliable and compliant class of workers, it has also been tainted by its links to the processes of social selection and its lowly status in the hierarchy of school subjects. However, VET has also been proposed as a means of democratising the school curriculum and improving accessibility for marginalised populations. The evidence presented in this article suggests that VET provision in Australian schools is of relatively poor quality and furthermore is associated with significant levels of social selection--rather than democratisation. The Australian policy framework, strait-jacketed by the belief that it must avoid narrow instrumentalism, has allowed and assisted the evolution of a low quality, low-intensity VET regime which serves a mainly working-class clientele in mainly working-class schools. In reviewing the current Australian evidence, it argues that if the central debate is one between the competing demands of achieving equity (which is associated with comprehensive provision) and that of achieving quality VET (which is associated with tracked provision) then, sadly, Australia fails to deliver effectively on either of these aims. (Contains 6 figures and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia