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Just what the doctor ordered? An analysis of the European Union’s intervention in VET in Eastern Europe

West, John (2014) Just what the doctor ordered? An analysis of the European Union’s intervention in VET in Eastern Europe. PhD thesis, UCL Institute of Education.

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In the period before their accession to the European Union (EU) the formerly communist countries of eastern Europe were expected to reform their economic and social policies to satisfy EU-wide requirements and to become competitive in a market-orientated system. The countries were subject to pressure in the accession negotiations and eligible for aid to help them adapt. This thesis examines the influences that the EU brought to bear in the field of vocational education and training (VET) and investigates why the EU made the requirements that it did. The thesis adopts a historical methodology, tracing the previous evolution of EU policy on VET on the one hand, and the state of VET under communism in eastern Europe on the other. It then examines the factors impinging on VET caused by the pressures of economic transition and the accession process. The treatment of VET during the accession negotiations and in the programme of aid are investigated in detail. Interviews with a number of key participants in the process shed light on the assumptions and reactions of the main stakeholders. The thesis shows how the EU’s interventions stemmed largely from its internal policies on VET rather than from a diagnosis of the problems of individual eastern countries. The EU increasingly applied to the East the emphasis on lifelong learning and the methods of negotiated target-setting that it had evolved to make an impact with existing member states. Various common European instruments for VET which emerged after 2002 also impinged on the East, though they had been presaged by a distinctive approach to curriculum design which featured in aid projects in the East. At the level of specific policy areas, the thesis findings tend to support a neo-functionalist interpretation of what drives integration within the EU.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Departments > Lifelong and Comparative Education
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2015 15:54
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2015 15:54
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