Contribution of vocational education and training to equity and social inclusion Dr. Zdenko Medveš in drugi
Summary: Vocational education is considered socially inclusive if it provides actual employability and income above the poverty threshold. In terms of equity the problem arises when differentiation of vocational education matches the hierarchical structure of professions. The article analyses the actual chances that education in Slovenia gives to the disadvantaged social groups, especially those coming from families with lower socially-economic status, those whose mother tongue is other than Slovene, persons with special needs, and women. The changing pattern of enrolment in different types of upper secondary schools in the last few years reveals that the vocational schools have gradually become schools leading to social marginalisation and are therefore losing their attractiveness. But it is impossible to give a complete answer to the question about the level of inequality that the disadvantaged social groups may experience since some crucial data is lacking due to the protection of personal data; the Slovenian legislation is restrictive in their collection. No data is collected which would enable monitoring of the equity of the education system at different levels: at enrolment, during schooling, and at the completion of secondary education. But some findings of the studies conducted on the representative samples show us a displeasing picture. Therefore action has to be taken both at the societal and educational levels: the dialogue between social partners has to be enhanced, higher parity of esteem in upper secondary education achieved and the quality of learning outcomes improved. A variety of contemporary vocational qualifications and also additional alternative learning pathways leading to them have to be developed. In addition, institutional differentiation of vocational education should be replaced with a more unified, but fl exibly organised, comprehensive vocational school.