The economic recession in the 1980s constituted a reason to revise vocational education in the Netherlands. There was a search for new forms of learning in context, with authentic tasks in the real world, which had the explicit goal of bringing theory and practice closer together. This combination of learning and working was said to better prepare learners for the future and to guarantee effective training and a powerful learning environment. Business and industry would acquire custom-designed people, ‘just in time, just enough’. This combination of learning and working is referred to by the term dualisering, (which is a dual programme of work and study). It was assumed that integration of learning at the workplace and working under an employment contract, with reflective learning moments at school, would provide an effective learning environment for the development of professional skills. Within higher professional education (HPE, in Dutch: HBO) many forms and variants of learning while working and working while learning gradually emerged. A distinction can be drawn, for example, between ‘apprenticeship’ and ‘internship’, in which the student either follows a dual track or undertakes a work placement respectively. The work placement component seems to have increased in size over the past few years to such an extent that it has become comparable with the dual system. Since the 1990s various initiatives have been undertaken in the Netherlands to promote the dual programme of work and study through experiments within higher professional education. Their design has varied from first-year full-time training followed by sixmonthly periods of ‘school’ learning alternated with periods of working (CooP), to the entire training programme of three days a week working and two days undertaking study activities (Gilde-HBO). Currently, colleges of higher professional education are free to design their own dual training programme. However, as part of a dual track, the relationship between student, company and institute must be regulated by means of an employment contract or training-employment contract. This means that dual students are employees at the company, whereas non-dual students come into contact with the world of work through work placements. Dual students were therefore believed to learn more effectively what it takes to work in a specific profession. Furthermore, they would acquire the more generic and specific skills necessary to perform a job and would be better trained in profession-related skills, such as problem-oriented working and flexibility.
|Award date||13 Jul 2011|
|Place of Publication||Enschede|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Jul 2011|