Vocational education and the development of human capital.

  • Created by: Pudgee
  • Created on: 10-03-18 08:39

vocational education

  • vocational education creates what Schulz referred to as human capital. this is the knowledge and skills possessed by a workforce that increases the workforces value and usefulness to employers. 
  • functionalists and the new right see this as beneficial as it helps to boost the economy
  • Marxists see it as largely second-rate education for those from working-class backgrounds concerned with producing passive and conformist workers.
  • the main focus of vocational education in contemporary Britain has been on:
    • improving the quality of basic skills of the workforce
    • ending the status division between academic and vocational qualifications 
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creating a skilled and flexible workforce

it was believed that  Britain would maintain a better position in the world economy if it could produce more skilled and flexible workers, and it would provide young people with the skills that would enable them to take advantage of the wide range of jobs and careers opening up with globalisation.  measures to achieve this have included

  • work experience programmes for school and college students
  • an expansion of post 16 education
  • a stronger emphasis on key skills
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criticisms of vocational education

  • work experience and post-school training schemes are seen as boring and repetitive by students, involving little development of skills and having little to do with their future ambitions
  • such schemes are seen as having more to do with reducing politically embarrassing unemployment statistics, reducing the proportion of NEET 16-18 year olds and keeping young people away from crime, than producing a skilled workforce
  • vocational qualifications have lower status than academic ones
  • Birdwell found that secondary schools routinely neglect students with vocational aspirations. 
  • schools fail to help teenagers prepare for work offering them little advice finding jobs that would suit them. 
  • many vocational qualifications turn out to be worthless 
  • schools undervalue the importance of part-time work, after-school clubs and volunteering to build students skills
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