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Structural elaboration of technical and vocational education and training systems in developing countries: the cases of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

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While technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is re-emerging on the agenda of many development agencies and governments of developing countries alike, there remains a serious lack of theoretically grounded literature on how skills formation systems in developing countries change over time, and how these transformations are interrelated with global trends. This article is an attempt to address this shortfall by way of analysing the historical trajectories of TVET in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from the perspective of ‘historical institutionalism’. The analysis finds that, contrary to major assumptions of ‘neo-institutionalist world culture’ perspectives, TVET institutions and policies in both countries have developed to some extent in opposition to the priorities of international donor organisations. It is argued that more generally these developments are strongly related to the path-dependent structural elaboration of the two education systems. As a conclusion it is pointed out that the fact that in both countries TVET became a political priority well before the recent reformulation of donor priorities may raise doubts about the validity and dominance of world culture models for explanations of educational change.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Education, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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