1st Edition

Vocational Education in the Nordic Countries The Historical Evolution

Edited By Svein Michelsen, Marja-Leena Stenström Copyright 2018
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    Vocational Education in the Nordic Countries: The Historical Evolution is the first of two books that disseminate new and systematic knowledge on the strengths and weaknesses of the different models of vocational education and training (VET) in four Nordic countries. Vocational education in Europe has resisted standardisation to a higher degree than other fields of education, and during the last decade, there has been a growth in international, comparative VET research. While the Nordic countries provide an ideal case for comparative education studies, the literature in English on the Nordic VET systems is at present very limited.

    This first book provides thorough examinations of VET in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland over 150 years. Each section examines the historical evolution of VET at upper secondary level in one of the four Nordic countries. Contributors also analyse how each country have tried to reform their respective VET systems, and compare the paths which each nation has taken. The book explores what can be learned from the diversity of the VET-systems in the Nordic countries, which otherwise have many similarities and share a common heritage in education policy.

    This volume will help strengthen the knowledge base required for transnational policy learning, and for developing vocational education internationally for the future. It will be of interest to researchers, academics and postgraduate students involved in the study of vocational education, educational studies and educational policy, education planners and teachers educators.

    1. The historical evolution of vocational education in the Nordic countries

    Svein Michelsen

    2. The development of Finnish vocational education and training from 1850 to 1945

      Marja-Leena Stenström and Maarit Virolainen

    3. Sweden: The formative period for VET (1850– 1945)

      Jonas Olofsson and Daniel Persson Thunqvist

    4. The case of Norwegian VET- origins and early development 1850- 1945

      Svein Michelsen and Håkon Høst

    5. Historical evolution of vocational education in Denmark until 1945

      Christian Helms Jørgensen and Gudmund Bøndergaard

    6. The modern evolution of vocational education and training in Finland (1945–2015)

      Marja-Leena Stenström and Maarit Virolainen

    7. The modern evolution of VET in Sweden (1945-2015)

      Jonas Olofsson, and Daniel Persson Thunqvist

    8. Norwegian VET and the ascent and decline of social democracy 1945-2015

      Svein Michelsen and Håkon Høst

    9. The modernisation of the apprenticeship system in Denmark 1945 - 2015

      Christian Helms Jørgensen

    10. Conclusions

    Svein Michelsen


    Svein Michelsen is Professor in Political Science at the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen, Norway.

    Marja-Leena Stenström is Professor Emerita in Education and Working Life at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

    "The book is significant in many aspects. Providing thorough analysis of historical evolution of Nordic countries´ VET systems over more than a millennium, it enables the reader to understand better contemporary VET systems not only in Nordic countries, but also in many other European countries. Because of its systematic approach to the evolution of VET systems, looking at the development of VET systems in parallel with development of economic and welfare systems, the book contributes to the understanding of VET as highly complex systems. At the same time, the book exemplifies how the culturally embedded value of equality manifests itself in the Nordic VET systems."

    Krista Loogma is professor of vocational education at Tallinn University, Estonia. Her scientific interests cover education sociology, vocational education, workplace learning. Currently, she leads the research group of studies in vocational education and is engaged in the research of teachers´ professionalism.


    "Creating and sustaining effective and inclusive vocational education and training is highly challenging. Governments worldwide seek answers and often look to the Nordic countries. This impressively researched book, providing the first comparative account of the evolution of VET in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, presents the detailed critical analysis required for a more sophisticated approach to transnational policy learning. It should be required reading for policymakers and researchers who seek to understand the complex nature of national VET systems."

    Lorna Unwin is Professor Emerita for Vocational Education at the Institute of Education, University College London.