THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER THE NORWEGIAN

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner The Norwegian-Free PDF

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Editor s Foreword,SKOPE Publications, This series publishes the work of the members and assosciates of SKOPE A formal. editorial process ensures that standards of quality and objectivity are maintained. Orders for publications should be addressed to the SKOPE Secretary SKOPE. Warwick Business School University of Warwick Coventry CV4 7AL. Today lifelong learning figures prominently within the education and training policies. of governments throughout the developed world and is presented as a powerful solution. to a wide range of economic and social challenges In essence the vision is one of a. society where people have multiple opportunities to learn throughout life across a. diversity of contexts Despite a persistent and universal gap between rhetoric and reality. it is clear however that some countries have gone further in realising the goals of. lifelong learning for all than others Norway for example has a highly educated. population by international standards invests considerable resources in its education. and training system and benefits from a long tradition of tripartism and consensus. building Its experience may therefore be instructive of the challenges that more. advanced countries confront in attempting to further progress the lifelong learning ideal. even under relatively favourable conditions, Drawing upon a range of secondary material and interviews conducted with key. stakeholders the paper explores the main achievements problems and challenges that. Norway has faced in attempting to implement a recent reform of adult and continuing. education and training entitled the Competence Reform To date the reform would. appear to have had little impact upon low qualified workers especially in sectors with. poor training records and relatively high concentrations of learning deprived jobs In. reflecting upon this experience Norwegian policy makers appear to be reaching the end. of a cycle of policy and academic thinking concerned mainly with boosting the supply of. skills through the education system and embarking upon a much more difficult and. challenging agenda aimed at increasing the utilisation and development of skills within. the workplace In any advanced economy however there remains a residue of low skilled. jobs which are not amenable to work redesign and which offer few opportunities for. work related learning While the persistence of such jobs constitutes a major barrier to. widening participation in adult learning Norway may face a smaller problem than many. other countries not least the UK where flexible labour market policies have contributed. towards an economy more sharply polarised both in terms of skills and incomes. Introduction, In recent years lifelong learning has become the dominant leitmotif in the education and. training policies of governments across the advanced industrial world see Green 2002. and is currently backed by an impressive array of supporters including the ILO 2001. the OECD 1996 and the European Commission EC 2001 Within these discourses. lifelong learning is viewed as a powerful response to a myriad of economic and social. challenges ranging from globalisation competitiveness and employability to population. ageing social inclusion and active citizenship Greenwood and Stuart 2002 For the. most part however it is economic concerns that have mainly fuelled policy makers. interest in lifelong learning Coffield 1999 Jarvis 2001 Casey 2004 In the new. globalised knowledge driven economy a highly skilled and adaptable workforce capable. of engaging in continuous product and process innovation is said to hold the key to. national and corporate competitive success Reich 1991 Drucker 1993 Thurow 1996. while the ability of individuals to constantly update and renew their skills and knowledge. is regarded as essential to their employability in a fast moving labour market In this way. lifelong learning sits within a policy discourse which sees investment in human capital as. the main driver of economic prosperity and social cohesion Ashton and Green 1996. Brown et al 2001, Such imperatives mark a significant shift in emphasis away from the wider goals. of personal development and increased worker participation in the management of the. workplace and society long advocated by movements for adult and worker education in. many western countries see Faure 1972 Coffield 2000 Jarvis 2001 Casey 2004 At the. same time critics have argued that the current policy turn towards lifelong learning. incorporates a polemic of social control as individuals are expected to submit to employer. demands for flexibility and assume greater responsibility for their labour market fate in. conditions of heightened risk and uncertainty Coffield 1999 As Green 2002 612 613. notes however while the concept of lifelong learning remains hopelessly vague can be. interpreted in numerous different ways see Tuijnman and Bostrom 2002 and is prone to. being hi jacked for ideological purposes in essence it captures something powerful and. significant the vision of a society where people have multiple opportunities to learn. throughout their lives across a variety of contexts including education institutions the. workplace the home and the community and where informal learning is valued as highly. as formal learning OECD 1996 Cheallaigh 2001 EC 2001 Of course it is one thing to. develop grand visions of the lifelong learning society within official policy documents. EC 2005 translating such visions into reality usually turns out to be rather more. problematic Coffield 2000 6, Furthermore despite the emergence of a common agenda for lifelong learning and.
skill development across many countries it is increasingly recognised that policy in. practise varies significantly according to national context Green 2002 This applies to. the specific goals policies and initiatives that are being pursued and implemented the. wider institutional framework within which they take place and the roles played by key. actors such as the state employers and trade unions see Cooney and Stuart 2004 By the. same token some countries may not only benefit from more favourable conditions for. making progress towards the goal of lifelong learning for all but may already be some. way further down this road than others, One such country is Norway well known for its egalitarian ambitions and. comprehensive approach towards education Today Norway invests considerable. resources in its education system 6 8 of GDP in 2003 compared to an OECD average. of 4 9 and has one of the most highly educated populations in the developed world. OECD 2002 Approximately 83 of Norwegians aged 25 64 have some sort of. education over and above compulsory schooling see Skule et al 2002 264 OECD. figures reveal that for 25 34 year olds no country in the world has fewer persons who. are poorly qualified while Norway tops the OECD league table for the proportion. holding tertiary type A or advanced university degrees OECD 2003 Among European. countries Norway had the second highest participation rate in job related continuing. education and training 44 in 1998 see OECD 2004 According to a Norwegian. survey conducted in 2003 over half 53 of the population and 61 of employees aged. 22 66 had participated in some form of education and training during the previous 12. months Nyen et al 2004 Norway has also been seen to benefit from a strong tradition of. tripartism and consensus building with the social partners invited by government to play. an active role the policy formation not least in relation to vocational education and. training Skule et al 2002 Not surprisingly a recent OECD evaluation study concludes. that if lifelong learning is to succeed anywhere Norway is one of the most likely places. in view of its history of reforms co operation among bodies and high educational. standards and outcomes OECD 2002a 219, In pursuit if its vision of lifelong learning Norway has initiated reforms to all. levels of its education system in the 1990s see Payne 2000 2002 Skule et al 2002 and. since 1999 has been involved in the implementation of a major tripartite reform of adult. and continuing education and training the so called Competence Reform If ever there. was a country where one might have expected a major adult learning initiative to have. really taken root and succeeded then Norway would probably be at the top of many. people s lists Yet there are already indications that this has not happened and that the. reform has experienced only very slow and halting progress see Teige 2004 Skule. The paper explores some of the challenges and problems that Norwegian policy. makers and the social partners have confronted in their attempts to implement the. Competence Reform In doing so it draws upon a range of secondary material currently. available in English and supplements this with interviews with key stakeholders. including policy makers employers organisations trade unions and working life. researchers conducted during two study visits to Norway in 2003 What makes the. Norwegian case interesting is not simply that Norway has encountered difficulties in. attempting to further progress the cause of lifelong learning but that its experience may. also be instructive as to the kind of challenges that other countries might confront were. they to reach the position in which Norway finds itself today see McGaw 2004 Indeed. there are already indications that Norwegian policy makers are beginning to shift their. attention to a more difficult set of issues which raise new and extremely challenging. questions for skills policy KUF 2004b Here then is perhaps a rare opportunity for. policy makers in other countries to glimpse some of the more difficult problems that. remain at the latter stages of one nation s marathon journey towards the goal of lifelong. learning for all,The Competence Reform,Contextual background. Norway is a small country of around 4 5 million people scattered across a large landmass. roughly the size of New Zealand The Norwegian economy is small and open and. benefits from and abundance of natural resources fish timber and cheap hydro power. Small and medium sized enterprises SMEs make up around 99 of all firms and. employ approximately 70 of the workforce Farstad 1999 21 Since the 1970s. Norway has been blessed with rich supplies of North Sea oil and gas and is currently the. third largest oil exporter in the world OECD 2002 On many indicators the Norwegian. economy performs relatively well In terms of GDP per capita Norway is one of the. richest countries in the developed world OECD 2002a Labour productivity growth has. averaged around 2 8 over the last decade placing Norway within the top six of 28. OECD countries McGaw 2004 Since the mid 1990s unemployment has remained. below 5 and inflationary pressures have been kept under control Nevertheless as. Benner 2003 138 notes Norway is not a major industrial power The Norwegian. economy remains skewed towards traditional industries such as shipbuilding transport. and shipping remains heavily reliant on oil and has relatively few high tech knowledge. intensive sectors or networks Investment in research and development R D is. relatively low by international standards 8 of GDP in 2001 compared to an EU average. of 1 9 see OECD 2002b 297 8 also Kuhlman and Arnold 2001 while productivity. across manufacturing industry and non financial services is said to be mediocre see. McGaw 2004, As an example of the Nordic social model Norway has nevertheless. demonstrated that relatively strong economic performance in the current global economy. is not per se incompatible with robust forms of labour market regulation a generous. welfare state and low levels of wage and income inequality Dolvik 2001 Skule et al. 2002 The main peak level associations of capital Confederation of Norwegian Business. and Industry NHO and labour Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions LO the. social partners have played a key role in the strategic management of the Norwegian. oil economy through the negotiation of tripartite income agreements and are actively. involved in the process of public policy formation see Dolvik and Stokke 1998 Skule et. al 2002 The social partners play a particulalry important role in the management and. administration of the VET system especially apprenticeships see Payne 2000 2002. and as discussed below have been closely involved with the development of the. Competence Reform,The road to the Competence Reform.
The background to the Competence Reform has already been discussed in some detail by. Norwegian commentators see Skule et al 2002 Teige 2004 Here we concentrate on the. more salient aspects of this story and refer readers seeking a more detailed account to this. wider literature As these commentators point out the origins of the Competence Reform. lie with the trade union movement and in particular LO It was against the background. of rising unemployment and a rapidly changing labour market in the early 1990s that LO. adopted lifelong learning as a core strategic goal at its 1993 congress LO was. particularly concerned at the time about the emergence of a new class divide between the. skills rich and the skills poor with the latter seen to be at greater risk of unemployment. and social exclusion As Teige 2004 notes LO s decision to prioritize lifelong learning. at its 1993 congress was not unconnected however with the fact that one year ear. and training system and benefits from a long tradition of tripartism and consensus building Its experience may therefore be instructive of the challenges that more advanced countries confront in attempting to further progress the lifelong learning ideal even under relatively favourable conditions

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