Friday, 15 July 2011

Special Features of the Finnish Education System: Vocational Education

Lauri Kurvonen gave a presentation on Finland's vocational education sector.

The notes of the presentation are as follows:
  • 7-8% of students in vocational education take the matriculation examination
  • initial vocational education, but also specialist vocational qualifications, mainly for adults
  • last year of comprehensive school -- general application to "second step" -- student expresses their interests if they want to go to vocational education
  • the yhteishaku is based on marks from school, a nationwide application
  • it is now internet-based
  • make three preferences, either vocational education and training (VET) or gymnasium
  • polytechnic -- higher education in the vocational sector
  • 1990s -- changed VET to 3 years
  • VET -- 10% take classes in the gymnasium and 8% take the matriculation exam
  • 5% of students in university have a VET background
  • 25% of students in polytechnics have an academic background
  • VET -- 2 ways to do initial VET, from school or passing skills tests, aimed at adults with working experience
  • also further qualifications, similar to the NVQ in the UK
  • approximately 60,000 students leave comprehensive school per year -- 45% to VET, 50% to gymnasium, 4-5% do not go directly to upper-secondary school, 1-2% take an additional year in comprehensive school
General objectives of VET
  • knowledge and skills necessary for vocational competence and employment
  • knowledge skills needed in further studies and lifelong learning
  • 1/3 general subjects in VET
Finland
  • fast industrialization post-World War II
  • needed a way to produce skilled labor
  • Finnish government supported training
  • VET only way to education many in skills
Vocational Education and Training
  • operated by municipalities
  • approximately 200 VET schools
  • almost all of the schools are public
  • combination of theory and practice
  • same teachers teach both areas
  • 1945 Act -- government provides 1/2 of money to vocational industries
  • 1/2 of money comes from local and 1/2 from national budgets
  • have to buy books but allowance from state
1990s
  • decentralization and deregulation -- decisions on a local level
  • no more inspections, self-evaluations
  • merging of small schools
Qualification comes from the specific national core curriculum

Students can have a personal study plan

7 sectors of VET, 53 total qualifications:
  1. natural resources
  2. technology and transport
  3. business and administration
  4. tourism, catering, and home economics
  5. health and social services
  6. culture
  7. leisure and physical education
Initial VET
  • 120 credits (study weeks)
  • 40 per year
  • 20 credits for on-the-job training
  • (apprenticeships -- mainly adults)
120 credits
  • 20 credits -- core subjects e.g. math
  • 90 credits -- vocational studies
  • 10 credits -- free to choose
On-the-job learning
  • introduced in 1999-2000
  • done in the workplace
  • teacher comes to the workplace once in a while
  • students, not employees
  • there to learn, not to make money
  • in many cases, the student is hired
Skills demonstrations
  • practical tests in all vocational modules
  • introduced in 2006
  • in addition to written tests
Main challenges
  • lack of labor in certain fields
  • cooperation of on-the-job learning and working life, with general studies
  • opening paths to further studies
  • supporting weak students, preventing drop-outs
  • improving the prestige of VET
Competence-based qualifications
  • specialist and further qualifications
  • adult education -- 1000 institutions, 14% of Ministry of Education budget, 1 million adults participate
  • developed in 1990s
  • apprenticeships
  • updating of qualifications
Levels of qualifications
  • initial
  • further
  • specialist
Large increase in participants in VET

Polytechnics
  • from the mid-1990s
  • more clear situation for this sector of higher education
  • for more practical focus, e.g. doctors at university, nurses at polytechnic
  • two types of engineers: insenoori (polytechnic), and diplomi-insenoori (university)

1 comment:

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