Chapter 9: Skills Demonstrations: A Possibility for Meaningful Co-operation with Work-Life in the Internationalizing Vocational Education
9. Skills demonstrations: a possibility for meaningful co-operation with worklife in internationalizing vocational education Seija Mahlamäki-Kultanen Introduction Three succeeding Finnish governments, the governments of Lipponen, Jäättenmäki and Vanhanen, have decided to implement national skills demonstrations in initial vocational secondary level education after pilot projects and careful examination of the possible system. Based on a common agreement on the main principles, 59 development projects have been conducted, the first of them starting in 2000. National material for the skills demonstrations is produced in co-operation with vocational institutions, teacher education polytechnics, labour unions and educational authorities under the governance of the National Board of Education in Finland. They have been funded by the European Social Fund and the Finnish Ministry of Education. A lot of information about the initiative and the projects on it can be found on the Internet page of the National Board of Education (Ammatilliset ESR-projektit. Näytöt, 2005). The educational administration authorities and politicians have agreed on the Act on Skills Demonstrations, mainly because of differing opinions about the share of duties and the funding of the system. After much experience from the pilot projects it can be concluded that students, business owners and other representatives of working life and educational institutions find the system very useful, but also demanding (Nyyssölä, 2002; 2003). This chapter is based on the mid-term reports of the development projects and one case example, in which skills demonstrations were tested and material for national purposes was developed. Three...
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