Four logics of governance: Governing vocational Education and Training

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Abstract

For the last fifteen years completion rates in Danish vocational education and training (VET) has stayed on a rather low level. In 2014, only half of the students enrolled in a vocational program on upper secondary level, graduated from the program (Flarup et al 2016). In Denmark, like in other European countries, the low completion rate has raised consider-able concern at the political level (Jørgensen 2011; Lamb & Markussen 2011). In 2014, a new reform of VET was decided by a broad political coalition in the Danish Parliament. This recent reform is based on four clear objectives. For each objective additional result targets are set. The objectives and targets are: 1) More students should choose to start a VET immediately following form level 9 or 10. 2) More people should complete a VET. 3) The VETs must challenge all students in order for them to reach their fullest potential. 4) The trust and well-being of students enrolled in the VETs must be strengthened. We focus on target 1, 2 and 4. The reform is being implemented in a field of VET that can be characterized by four logics of governance. Firstly, a governance logic characterized by institutional independence of vocational colleges combined with state funding through a taximeter scheme (pay per student). Secondly, party governance system involving labor market partners at both national and local level formalized through a national Council for Vocational Training and 50 local trade committees as well as local education committees at each college. The third governance logic is based on a decentralized quality management system at each college. Each college has set up its own system of quality developments and quality assurances. The fourth governance logic is performance management conducted by the national level towards the colleges; cf. the four above-mentioned reform targets. The question we address in the paper is how these four logics of governance affect the implementation of the VET reform. The hypothesis is that different logics affect practices at local level in different aspects and that these aspects might cause unintended consequences. Theoretically, we draw on different management and governance theories, e.g. performance management. Empirically, the study is based on surveys to teachers and students at all Danish vocational colleges and interviews with school leaders, teachers and students at six colleges (cases). Our contribution, empirically as well as theoretically, is to show how the different logics of governance interact and with what consequences.
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For the last fifteen years completion rates in Danish vocational education and training (VET) has stayed on a rather low level. In 2014, only half of the students enrolled in a vocational program on upper secondary level, graduated from the program (Flarup et al 2016). In Denmark, like in other European countries, the low completion rate has raised consider-able concern at the political level (Jørgensen 2011; Lamb & Markussen 2011). In 2014, a new reform of VET was decided by a broad political coalition in the Danish Parliament. This recent reform is based on four clear objectives. For each objective additional result targets are set. The objectives and targets are: 1) More students should choose to start a VET immediately following form level 9 or 10. 2) More people should complete a VET. 3) The VETs must challenge all students in order for them to reach their fullest potential. 4) The trust and well-being of students enrolled in the VETs must be strengthened. We focus on target 1, 2 and 4. The reform is being implemented in a field of VET that can be characterized by four logics of governance. Firstly, a governance logic characterized by institutional independence of vocational colleges combined with state funding through a taximeter scheme (pay per student). Secondly, party governance system involving labor market partners at both national and local level formalized through a national Council for Vocational Training and 50 local trade committees as well as local education committees at each college. The third governance logic is based on a decentralized quality management system at each college. Each college has set up its own system of quality developments and quality assurances. The fourth governance logic is performance management conducted by the national level towards the colleges; cf. the four above-mentioned reform targets. The question we address in the paper is how these four logics of governance affect the implementation of the VET reform. The hypothesis is that different logics affect practices at local level in different aspects and that these aspects might cause unintended consequences. Theoretically, we draw on different management and governance theories, e.g. performance management. Empirically, the study is based on surveys to teachers and students at all Danish vocational colleges and interviews with school leaders, teachers and students at six colleges (cases). Our contribution, empirically as well as theoretically, is to show how the different logics of governance interact and with what consequences.
Translated title of the contributionFore styringslogikker: Erhvervsuddannelsernes styring
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventJournal of Vocational Education & Training Conference - Worcester College, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jul 20177 Jul 2017

Conference

ConferenceJournal of Vocational Education & Training Conference
LocationWorcester College
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityOxford
Period04/07/201707/07/2017
ID: 255333462