How markets distort decisions to undertake education, vocational knowledge, provision and qualifications
Source TitleProceedings of the 4th International Conference of Researching Work and Learning
PublisherUniversity of Technology, Sydney
University of Melbourne Author/sWheelahan, Leesa
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education, LH Martin Institute
Document TypeConference Paper
CitationsWheelahan, L. (2005). How markets distort decisions to undertake education, vocational knowledge, provision and qualifications. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of Researching Work and Learning, Sydney, N.S.W.
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2005 Leesa Wheelahan
This paper argues that neo-liberal market-oriented reform to vocational education and training (and also other sectors of education) is much more than a tool for intensifying the work of VET teachers, through making them more 'responsive' and their institutions more 'effective and efficient'. The aim of these policies is the creation of the 'market citizen'. This leads to transformation of subjectivities and the way in which individuals develop and shape their sense of identity, their orientation to their vocation, their relationship to knowledge and practice, and the way in which they recognise themselves and others (Bernstein, 2000; Ball, 2003). The 'generic skills' sought by government and employers are market-oriented skills. This changes the focus of education and training from preparing students for a vocation to preparing them for markets. As a consequence, vocational knowledge is downplayed. Market reforms also distort the nature of provision, the structure and focus of qualifications, and the way in which employers decide to provide, and individuals to undertake, further education and training. This paper presents an alternative model, which argues that learning for work needs to go beyond work, that learning needs to be oriented to a vocation, and that learning needs to occur over a variety of contexts (and not just learning at work).
Keywordsvocational education and training; generic skills; market; employer; learning model; learning motivation; policy implementation; policy implication; Australia
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