Public Knowledge Infrastructure of Vocational Education and Training in Switzerland

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This research project describes the public knowledge infrastructure of vocational education and training (VET) in Switzerlandand assesses its impact. The term 'public knowledge infrastructure' refers to forms of knowledge production, exchange and application that are publicly funded and discussed to improve the quality of VET and society, within a system of relationships between protagonists who produce and exchange practical and theoretical knowledge. Discussion is centred on how various types of knowledge are produced, how they influence and enhance each other, how they take on meaning and how they are applied.

This project seeks to describe how knowledge is developed, unlocked, disseminated and applied in upper-secondary level VET in Switzerland for the purpose of enhancing the quality of VET. To enhance the quality of VET, the systematic, methodologically controlled and reflexive production and interpretation of knowledge are especially important, in contrast to non-reflexive everyday knowledge or unrepresentative personal experience. In general, systematic knowledge production and interpretation in VET can be structured as follows: a) knowledge is created for teaching and learning purposes or b) knowledge is produced with regards to the overall VET sector. With regards to the transfer of knowledge from research to VET professionals for the purpose of enhancing the quality of VET, two different aims exist.

First of all, if the target group is comprised of VET professionals (mainly VET teachers and VET trainers), learners and professional organisations, systematic knowledge production should lead to evidence-informed practice. On the other hand, if the target groups are VET policymakers or civil servants, knowledge production should increase evidence-informed policy.The paper is structured as follows. First, the specificities of the Swiss system are depicted, followed by an overview of its governance structure.

Then, special attention is given to the Federal Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (SR 412.10), which was an important milestone in the institutionalisation of the Swiss public knowledge infrastructure in 2002. Furthermore, the initiatives of the leading protagonists of this infrastructure are presented. Then, existing forms of knowledge exchange are described. The paper closes with an assessment of the Swiss public knowledge infrastructure of VET.


Document analysis.

1.1.2012 to 31.12.2012
Project manager: 

Stichting Expertisecentrum Beroepsonderwijs (Stichting ecbo), Netherlands