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Institute of Education


1. Main research topics

International Comparative Research on Vocational and Further Education

The focus of this field of research is the international and global comparison of educational systems in relation to their governance, development and transformation. Here, the structural differences and similarities of systems and organisations of vocational and further education and the relationship between training systems and labour markets are analysed. In order to understand the contemporary development of educational systems, it is of utmost importance to examine the historical developments from the perspective of transfers and interconnectedness. Geographically, the studies are focusing on (Western) Europe, Far East Asia, North America, and South Africa.

Historical Research on the Development of Vocational Education and Training in Switzerland

The Swiss National Science Foundation supports a larger research project that analyses the social conditions and agent-specific motivations that led to the development and stability of the dual model of vocational education and training in Switzerland. The historical reconstruction focuses on the time period from the 1960s until the present both in relation to individual cantons and the whole of Switzerland. The research is based on the sociological-pragmatic approach of the Economie des Conventions and attempts to examine its potential for the empirical analysis of the historical development of vocational education and training.

Governance Mechanisms in Swiss Vocational Education and Training

The specific form of vocational education and training in Switzerland is also examined in respect to its diverse governance mechanisms and practices. Due to the importance of the tri-partite corporatist partnership, the focus lies here on the relationships between the state (the Confederation and the cantons) and the non-governmental agents (especially professional associations, trade unions and the training companies themselves). Projects in this field study not only the conditions and effects of the dual model of basic vocational training in Switzerland, but also the challenges in the field of professional education and training.

Transitions in the Educational System

Transitions in the educational system are critical intersections for the successful integration of young people in the post-obligatory education system (first threshold) and later in the tertiary education or in the labour market (second threshold). Transitions are generally based on the fitting of institutional requirements and offerings, on the one hand, and individual competences and resources, on the other. Considering the potential (re)production of inequalities, transitions in educational systems can be understood as critical life events for individuals and as important influences of the structure of society.

Research on Vocational Training and Learning

The Chair of Vocational Education and Training examines existing, practical forms of vocational training and learning and their historical development, implementation and transformation in school and work environments. In the centre of these studies lies the concepts of professions and employability, life long learning, further education as well as digitalisation and innovation of the vocational training system.

Development and Evaluation Projects

The Chair of Vocational Education and Training carries out numerous development and evaluation projects in the field of vocational education and training. The clients are, in general, national and cantonal authorities, agencies of the European Union and many others.