The concept of policy transfer in vocational education and training

The concept of policy transfer in vocational education and training
In the contemporary business environment, education plays an extremely important role to the extent that the education and professional training of employees can define the competitive position of companies and their prospects in their business development. In this regard, many companies pay a particular attention to the vocational education and training which allow companies to maximize the effectiveness of training and to back up conventional training employees get in the workplace with the vocational education and training. At the same time, the use of vocational education and training raises the problem of the policy transfer because companies used different methods and approaches to training compared to vocational schools. As a result, companies sending their employees to vocational schools are likely to face the problem of the policy transfer and adaption of employees to the specific workplace environment.

In actuality, the vocational education and training are popular trends in the training of the personnel. At the same time, the development of vocational education and training is, to a significant extent, determined by the process of globalization because companies entering new markets need to train their employees and develop common norms and standards of work. In such a situation, the use of vocational schools is particularly effective because vocational schools assist to develop a homogeneous organizational culture and to develop the target skills and abilities and knowledge in employees. In this regard, many specialists point out that companies should be concerned with the transfer of training policies and practices across national systems of education and training (ET) has grown alongside the increasing globalization of the world economy. (Dickens, 1998). At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that companies operating internationally normally have different policies in regard to domestic employees and foreign employees. Specialists argue that there have always been role models of domestic and foreign policies, but what distinguishes the present wave of globalization is essentially the "compression" of time, due to technological advances that have accelerated and multiplied the possibilities of global communication (Bhagwati, 2005). In such a way, under the pressure of globalization, modern companies have to introduce vocational education and training en masse.

At the same time, some specialists point out that VET systems are embedded within a wider societal, institutional and cultural context that limits the success of transfer (Turbin). In such a context, it is worth mentioning the fact that companies operating internationally tend to train their employees in developed countries, where the educational level is higher and where employees can develop better professional skills and abilities and, therefore, they can work more effectively compared to employees, who get vocational training in developing countries. On the other hand, developing countries are interested in the vocational education and training of their employees abroad because, in such a way, employees trained abroad increase the intellectual and scientific potential of their countries. Specialists point out that less developed countries have sought - often through the intervention of supranational authorities and agencies such as the World Bank - to import policies or practices which mirror the VET systems of advanced countries, in order to accelerate economic development (Turbin).

However, the policy transfer raises a number of problems. In this respect, it is possible to refer to specialists, who argue that many of the policy transfers in the field of VET have demonstrated the difficulties, and often inappropriateness, of transferring components. (Hurst, 1975, 1983; Phillips, 1989, 1992; Watson, 1992, 1994). The major problem associated with the policy transfer is cultural barriers, which are closely intertwined with communication gaps. Basically, the cultural difference may raises unsurpassable barriers to successful education and training. Therefore, when a successful policy is transferred from one country to another, there is still a high risk of the policy transfer failure, because without adaptation of the policy to the local specificities and environment, the policy is doomed to failure.

In this regard, it is hardly possible to underestimate risks and threats associated with the policy transfer in the field of vocational education and training. Green (1999) warns us against the ‘quick fix’ from abroad and argues that the failure to understand the institutional context leads to inappropriate borrowing with “disastrous consequences” (Green 1999). To put it in simple words, the policy transfer should be planned and prepared carefully. In this regard, it is not only employees but also coaches and educators who should come prepared to the use of different policies in the vocational education and training. At the same time, the vocational education and training programs should be adapted to local specificities to meet local traditions, needs and expectations of employees and coaches. At this point, it is possible to refer to the opinion of specialists, according to which although transferring training practices may be helpful in some cases, it frequently necessitates or relies on wider changes and strategic actions. (Turbin).

Consequently, transfer should be seen as one of a number of mechanisms through which ideas, policies and practice can be diffused within and across societies (Dale, 1999). This means that the transfer is not a panacea to tackle all problems. Instead the policy transfer is an effective tool that can help to train and educate employees effectively but companies should implement a complex of methods and approaches to train and educate employees. This is an essential condition of successful and effective training. Otherwise, the vocational education and training may fail not because of the perfectness of educational and training programs but because of the failure of the policy transfer.

References:

Bhagwati, J. (2005). In Defense of Globalization New York: Oxford University Press.
Dale, R (1999) ‘Specifying globalization effects on national policy: a focus on the mechanisms’, Journal of Education Policy, 14, 1, 1-17.
Dicken, P. (1998), Global Shift: Transforming the World Economy. (London, Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.
Green, A. (1999), ‘Education and Globalization in Europe and East Asia: convergent and divergent trends’, Journal of Education Policy, 14, 1, 55-71
Turbin, J. Policy Borrowing: Lessons from European Attempts to Transfer Training Practices CLMS Working Paper No 27 Centre for Labour Market Studies University of Leiceste

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