Vocational education reforms in Latin America : a comparative study of Brazil and Colombia
This thesis offers a comparative analysis of the transformation of the structures of secondary education in two Latin American countries: Brazil and Colombia, with particular reference to the 1970s. At that time, these educational reforms aimed to introduce vocational education, as a preparation for the world of work, into the formal system of education. This thesis argues that the educational reforms leading to vocational education were a complex product of the interaction of foreign influences and specific local conditions, framed by the dependent character of the development pursued by both societies. These processes included the restructuring of local institutions, emulating external models. and following international advice. In both countries these reforms were affected by local socio-economic demands, and also provided the governments with an useful instrument of political propaganda and ideological control, within claimed intentions of increasing social mobility through education. To discuss these interpretations in terms of the interplay of internal and external influences on secondary and vocational education reforms, in Brazil and Colombia, this thesis is made up of five chapters. Following the Introduction, chapter 1 discusses the theoretical basis of the investigation, exploring the possibilities of using a particular branch of dependency perspective as a way to analyse educational change. Chapter 2 reviews the historical context of the main educational reforms of secondary education in Brazil and Colombia. Chapter 3 analyses the role played by international agencies and external assistance programmes in the reforms leading to vocational education. Chapter 4 discusses the specific political and social conditions in each country which affected the introduction and implementation of vocational education. Chapter 5 offers a re-interpretation of the historical and structural conditions for educational reforms in Brazil and Colombia in recent decades, highlighting the contemporary crisis within the impasse resulting from the dependent development of those countries.