Elizabeth Knight, Ann-Marie Bathmaker, Gavin Moodie, Kevin Orr, Sue Webb, Leesa Wheelahan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


New, distinctive forms of higher vocational education are growing rapidly across a range of countries. These have evolved as a response to two key policy concerns: an emphasis on high skills as a means to achieve economic competitiveness and raise productivity; and the promise of open access for adults previously excluded from higher education. This book examines these developments in countries and provinces across five continents (Africa, South America, North America, Europe and Australia) in relation to the following key questions:

What (if anything) is distinctive about evolving forms of higher vocational education?

How are these forms of provision positioned in relation to existing university higher education?

How are these forms of provision responding, if at all, to changing economic or employment conditions and the labour market?

How do questions of distinction and status play out in different country contexts?

Whose interests are served by higher vocational education?

What are the implications for equity and inequality in new and evolving forms of provision?

What can be learned from this international comparison of higher vocational education?

The chapters aim to address these questions in relation to specific country contexts. This serves to highlight similarities and differences in developments within the English-speaking countries in different regions, the European arena and the wider global context.

The chapter authors locate their analyses in the different political and socio-economic conditions within countries and regions. While such conditions render particular reforms and innovations both possible and realizable in one context, they may be almost unthinkable in another. The emphasis here is on policy learning through a critical understanding of differently evolving higher vocational education provision. Within this understanding, this book challenges the assumptions that policy borrowing from apparently successful countries offers a straightforward model for others to adopt. The chapters argue for the need to recognize and embrace diversity, while using comparisons across countries as a means of challenging taken-for-granted assumptions about how things are and what is possible within individual country contexts. Higher vocational education has been driven by the pressure for productivity, or at least discourses associated with it, along with the discourses of the need to expand access to high skills, so it is with these discourses that this book engages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEquity and Access to High Skills through Higher Vocational Education
EditorsElizabeth Knight, Ann-Marie Bathmaker, Gavin Moodie, Kevin Orr, Susan Webb, Leesa Wheelahan
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9783030845025
ISBN (Print) 9783030845018
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning
PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
ISSN (Print)2524-6313
ISSN (Electronic)2524-6321


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