Contrasting the Glorification of the Swiss Vocational Education System: an Actor-Centered Approach
06 - Präsentation
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The political and scientific interest for vocational education has grown remarkably during the last years. National policy makers and (educational) scientists are often referring to Middle-European school-systems (Germany and Switzerland) as models of best-practice in responding to the challenges of youth unemployment (compare for example Harvard Graduate School of Education, Askwith Forum “Schooling at the Workplace”). Typically, such glorification takes into account only on particular perspectives. It remains remarkable, how researchers are analyzing an educational system without even talking to the main actors: the young adults. In my PhD project I am focusing on educational and professional trajectories of young adults in Switzerland. I analyze the perspectives of teenagers who were schooled at the workplace in vocational educational programs. The study bases on a longitudinal survey of all students attending compulsory schooling in the city of Basel. In a mixed-method approach of quantitative (descriptive statistic) and qualitative data-collection (guided interviews) the dissertation first analyzes the future paths of these students (post-compulsory education, jobs, unemployment, other solutions) in relation to gender, migratory background and social class, and secondly, discusses the experience and meaning-making of the selected informants during their educational and professional trajectories. The study lays particular emphasis on the one third of young adults who struggle to find an apprenticeship position and who end up in so-called semi-private “bridging-classes”. Relying on Mary C. Briton's (2010) analyzes of youth, work and instability in postindustrial Japan the dissertation project asks, whether in Switzerland these young adults are comparably getting "lost in transition"