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Title: Finding one's place in life : exploring the relation between upper secondary vocational education and social cohesion in times of economic crisis : the cases of Greece and England
Author: Katsikopoulou, Ioanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 4099
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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This study explores the relation between upper secondary vocational education and social cohesion in times of economic crisis. Greece and England frame the specific context of research. I have set two research questions to investigate how vocational education is envisaged to support vocational students to find their place in life. The first concerns their inclusion in the labour market (as an aspect of the economy), and the second their inclusion in society (as distinct from the labour market). I am using the concepts of human capital and social capital as analytical lenses to address the research questions. This is an inductive study of perceptions of vocational education, as articulated in selected education policy documents and interviews with participant teachers. The first source of evidence includes six (sets of) state education policy documents produced over the period of 2003-2013, and the second semi-structured interviews with twenty-eight vocational teachers in total, equally distributed between the cases of Greece and England. Findings from the documentary analysis indicate that vocational education is directed towards strengthening human capital development through specialised preparation for immediate employment and the acquisition of a wide range of knowledge and skills, in an attempt to address the social cohesion challenges of economic disruption and youth unemployment. If successful development appears to be more a matter of collective effort in Greece, in England it would depend more on the individual student. Findings from the interview data show that participant teachers recognise the importance placed on human capital development and support the role of vocational education in the creation of social capital and social ties. Despite structural differences between Greece and England, vocational education is envisaged to foster social cohesion by assisting its students in the development of a sense of acceptance and belonging possibly to the detriment of excellence. Such findings invite further research.
Supervisor: Wakeling, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available