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General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) : the relationship between liberal, general and vocational education; with special reference to business studies for 16-19 year olds

Smith, Vikki (1997) General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) : the relationship between liberal, general and vocational education; with special reference to business studies for 16-19 year olds. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Abstract

    GNVQs epitomise one strand of contemporary philosophy of education. However, a
    question that arises is whether GNVQs, having built on the ethos of NVQs, abandon all
    earlier educational philosophies in favour of the competence movement endorsed in the
    USA. A question central to this study revolves around whether earlier, alternative
    philosophies of education also have something of value to offer.

    To answer this, traditional approaches to educational provision are identified and
    explored in terms of their possible 'ideal types'; these ideal types being seen to be
    represented by liberal, general and vocational education. To give such ideal types
    relevance in modern society they are related to significant educational provision, in this
    instance educational provision for 16 - 19 year olds. A curriculum criticism of A Levels,
    BTEC Diplomas, RSA, NVQs and GNVQs is therefore conducted, taking into account
    the historical development, philosophy, aims, the content and the teaching and learning
    methods of each approach. To achieve parity of comparison the field of Business
    Studies was used as an exemplar. The culmination of this stage of the research requires
    that the findings of the curriculum criticism are mapped against the established ideal
    types, the purpose being to identify elements that could be said to embody liberal,
    general and/or vocational education. For example, GNVQs are clearly linked to the
    vocational, their breadth can also be said to contribute to the general, but are they liberal
    in any way? The findings indicated that the inclusion of Key Skills and the student
    centred approach did offer some potential for a liberal education.

    To support these findings interviews and an attitudinal survey were conducted. The
    rationale for this was to explore and reveal the extent to which staff and students
    concerned with GNVQ Business held the same beliefs as those generated by the desk
    research; both sets of findings were in concordance. The final stage of the research
    programme was concerned with the future direction of GNVQs. Interviews were
    conducted with education policy makers and industry representatives. They were
    concerned with what the 'ideal' post-1 6 education programme would entail in the light of
    perceptions of liberal/vocational/general education. Staff and students were again
    consulted by way of vedfication of the conclusions drawn.

    The research concludes that liberal education was considered by many as the ideal way
    forward for post-16 education. GNVQs were seen as predominantly offering general
    education. From this one could infer that GNVQs are not, therefore, seen as the ideal
    post-1 6 programme. However, when 'ideal' elements of post-1 6 education are discussed
    some consideration of the world of work was deemed essential (though not a concern of
    traditional liberal education) and the inclusion of Key Skills were deemed important, as
    was a student centred approach to learning. In the light of this GNVQs have some
    potential for meeting the desired/essential components of an ideal post-16 education
    programme. Greater consideration, however, is required with regard to self-development
    and social awareness in order to promote liberal aspects of post-16 education. A
    combination of these factors within a GNVQ programme would represent a marriage of
    liberal, vocational and, general education philosophies and approaches to education; an
    'ideal'post-16 education programme.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID uk.bl.ethos.363235
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Education and training
    Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
    L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
    Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2009 15:41
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:48
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/5951

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