History of Vocational Education and Training (VET): Cases, Concepts and
Challenges: International Research Conference
University of Zurich in cooperation with the University of Potsdam,
September 8th and 9th, 2014
The Chair for Vocational Education and Training and Teacher Training of the University of Zurich in cooperation with the Chair for Theory and Research in Education of the University of Potsdam invite contributions to their historical international research conference, which will address the following topics:
- Cases which stress specific developments or problems of VET in a certain country or region,
- Concepts which are discussing theoretical approaches towards this phenomenon and
- Challenges which are contextualizing the historical perspective in a topical policy context.
General guidelines: Papers will be selected for presentation on the basis of the recommendation of an academic review panel according to the procedure outlined below.
Contributors are asked to submit a two page outline of their paper that includes:
- a summary of the paper of around 500 – 700 words,
- a provisional table of contents and
In the summary, the issues addressed in the paper and their relationship to the conference topics (see below) should be described. The research methodology should also be presented. Outlines should be sent to the organisers by December 24th, 2013. In order to permit a blind review process, contact information on the authors should be provided on a
separate sheet. Following completion of the review process, the authors of the most interesting proposals will be invited to give a presentation at the conference in Zurich. In order to be included in the conference proceedings, authors must submit a 2000 word summary of their papers by July 14th, 2014.
In the international policy debate and research, a growing interest in Vocational Education and Training (VET) can be observed. In contrast to general education at schools and universities on the international level, a great variety of national systems still exist in terms of VET. How did they evolve and what are possible reasons for their differentiation? What will be the future of these VET systems?
Thus, the approach of this conference is deliberately a historical and – additionally, but not mandatory – a comparative one that focuses on the development of VET systems. Besides unfolding specialist knowledge, the papers should give insight in the theoretical conceptualization of the historical view on VET.
The following three topics are the core of the conference:
Topic 1: Cases which stress specific developments or problems of VET in
a certain country or region. Although there are a lot of well-known and perceptive studies about specific developments of VET systems in certain countries, many studies are not internationally accessible. Moreover, history often remains as a superficial intro or an appendix for national systems. That is why we welcome contributions that aim at an international audience and develop a thorough argument why a specific case is of interest beyond a nation-specific audience.
Topic 2: Concepts which are discussing theoretical approaches towards this phenomenon. Most studies in the field of VET history are rather descriptive without making explicit theoretical assumptions. They rely on a modernization theory whereas some newer approaches, however, link the development of VET to political or economic concepts. That is why we welcome contributions that contextualize their approaches in a theoretical or methodological framework without missing a concrete reference in the field of VET.
Topic 3: Challenges which are contextualizing the historical perspective in a topical policy context. In policy debate, historical arguments often play a role in order to make out a case for reforms. Thus, it is of great interest for policy makers and researcher how current reforms stress the topical needs of VET and what kind of development they have had in the past. How did VET systems develop? And what kind of reforms are or are not feasible?
Conference location, organisation and fees
The conference will take place in Zurich, Switzerland. The conference languages are English, German and French. The working language is English. In order to cover some of the organisational costs there will be fee of 60 Euro for active participants and 120 Euro for guests. Conference proceedings including summaries of papers will be handed out to all participants. Moreover, authors of outstanding contributions will be
invited to publish their research findings in an conference anthology.
Prof. Philipp Gonon (Chair for VET and Teacher Training, University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Dr. Esther Berner (Chair for Theory and Research in Education, University of Potsdam, Germany)
Conference Organisation: For any correspondence: Jennifer Keller & Lea Zehnder firstname.lastname@example.org