The academic–vocational divide in three Nordic countries: implications for social class and gender

Mattias Nylund, Per-Åke Rosvall, Elsa Eiríksdóttir, Ann-Sofie Holm, Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret, Anna-Maija Niemi, Guðrún Ragnarsdóttir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In this study we examine how the academic–vocational divide is
manifested today in Finland, Iceland and Sweden in the division
between vocationally (VET) and academicallyoriented programmes
at the upper-secondary school level. The paper is based on a
critical re-analysis of results from previous studies; in it we investigate
the implications of this divide for class and gender inequalities.
The theoretical lens used for the synthesis is based on
Bernstein´s theory of pedagogic codes. In the re-analysis we
draw on previous studies of policy, curriculum and educational
praxis as well as official statistics. The main conclusions are that
contemporary policy and curriculum trends in all three countries
are dominated by a neo-liberal discourse stressing principles such
as “market relevance” and employability. This trend strengthens
the academic–vocational divide, mainly through an organisation
of knowledge in VET that separates it from more general and
theoretical elements. This trend also seems to affect VET students’
transitions in terms of reduced access to higher education, particularly
in male-dominated programmes. We also identify low
expectations for VET students, manifested through choice of textbooks
and tasks, organisation of teacher teams and the advice of career counsellors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducation Inquiry
Volume9
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)97-121
Number of pages25
ISSN2000-4508
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Vocational education
  • SOCIAL CLASS
  • GENDER
  • POLICY
  • CURRICULUM
  • educational praxis

Cite this

Nylund, Mattias ; Rosvall, Per-Åke ; Eiríksdóttir, Elsa ; Holm, Ann-Sofie ; Isopahkala-Bouret, Ulpukka ; Niemi, Anna-Maija ; Ragnarsdóttir, Guðrún. / The academic–vocational divide in three Nordic countries : implications for social class and gender. In: Education Inquiry. 2018 ; Vol. 9, No. 1. pp. 97-121.
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The academic–vocational divide in three Nordic countries : implications for social class and gender. / Nylund, Mattias; Rosvall, Per-Åke; Eiríksdóttir, Elsa; Holm, Ann-Sofie; Isopahkala-Bouret, Ulpukka; Niemi, Anna-Maija; Ragnarsdóttir, Guðrún.

In: Education Inquiry, Vol. 9, No. 1, 22.03.2018, p. 97-121.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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