Ambiguous Academisation of Vocational Education

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:24
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Jens-Christian SMEBY, Centre for the Study of Professions, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway
During the past 40 to 50 years, several vocational programmes have, in most countries, been upgraded to higher education and greater emphasis has been placed on faculty research competence and academic publishing. On the one hand, these trends may be considered as professionalization of vocational programs. On the other hand, the terms academisation and academic drift have been used to describe a detrimental adaption of traditional academic values at the expense of the vocational relevance of these programmes.

The aim of this paper is to explore these changes more in depth based on analyses of archival documents, national framework plans and various other kinds of documents on teaching, nursing and social work education in Norway. It is well documented that the formal research competence and research publications has increased, but what kind of research is conduced and to what extent is the research relevant for the educational programmes and professional practice? Moreover, to what extent has the curricula become more similar to traditional disciplinary university programmes? Has the volume of practical training been reduced? Has the volume of organised teaching been reduced to give more time for self-study? Has the practitioners influence been reduced? Preliminary analyses indicate that the development is ambiguous. It is also important to distinguish between different types of academisation. Even though these dimensions are related, they are only loosely connected and sometimes contradictory.