Author(s):Christian Helms Jørgensen (presenting)

Conference:ECER 2016, Leading Education: The Distinct Contributions of Educational Research and Researchers

Network:02. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)

Format:Symposium Paper

Session Information

02 SES 12 B, Is There Something Like a Nordic Model of VET? Findings from a Comparative Project



Room:Vet-Theatre 115

Chair/Discussant:Christian Helms Jørgensen/ Lorenz Lassnigg


VET and the Nordic dream of combining social equality and social inclusion

The most distinctive feature associated with the Nordic model of education is the strong priority given to social and gender equality and social inclusion. However, the Nordic systems of upper secondary education have differed significantly - and they still do. Sweden and Finland have established non-selective systems of comprehensive education at upper secondary level, and in their school-based systems of VET all students are offered eligibility for higher education. Denmark and Norway have retained separate apprenticeship system that offer smooth access to employment for non-academic youth. This paper examines this divergence in the Nordic VET-systems as different ways of pursuing the two goals of social equality and social inclusion. Since the 1970es, policies for social equality have emphasised reducing inequalities in the recruitment to the higher levels education by widening the access to higher education. During the last decades, policies for social inclusion have emphasised the value of work-based VET by expanding or reinventing modern forms of apprenticeship in all four Nordic Countries. The two classic Nordic policy goals thus seem to be conflicting to some degree, as seen for example with the Swedish Gy11 reform in 2011 that reintroduced apprenticeship, but did not offer eligibility for higher education. Keywords: social inclusion, equality, VET


Arnesen, A. L., & Lundahl, L. (2006). Still social and democratic? Inclusive education policies in the Nordic welfare states. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 50(3), 285-300.
Imsen, G., & Moos, L. (2013). The Nordic Education Model. U. Blossing (Ed.). Springer.
Wiborg, S. (2004). Education and social integration: A comparative study of the comprehensive school system in Scandinavia. London Review of Education, 2(2), 83-93

Author Information

Christian Helms Jørgensen (presenting)
Roskilde University, Department of Psychology & Educational Studies, Denmark