Eckert & Jean-Louis Kirsch
1997 (edited January 2000)
study using the comparative approach
in other experimentation
Reference to national case
study on FR: Bac Pro.
the end of this joint study, we would like to stress three points:
study using the comparative approach
deals with further comparative study of firms in countries that are most
similar to the French situation;
is more an expression of interest in experimental systems being implemented
that differ more from the French situation and for this reason present
a very different approach to certain problems;
attempts to begin a discussion about the original principles of this work,
namely those of ‘parity of esteem’ and ‘integrating qualifications’.
light of the reports of the seven countries, we have been struck by the
similarity that exists between situations in Great Britain, the Netherlands
and France concerning the approach to the issue of how a diploma should
provide access both to the labour market and pursuit of studies in higher
in other experimentation
Upon initial examination, the GNVQ system seems to be undergoing a change,
perhaps a change of direction, as it abandons immediate entry into professional
life for a preparatory function for higher education similar to that of
the French technological baccalaureates. The MBO has preserved its professional
vocation despite a gradual change in its original population, a change
also observed in the population of professional baccalaureate students,
but at the same time there is a stream (HAVO) that prepares students for
higher professional education. Thus, there are links between the general
stream and the technological and professional streams that deserve a more
detailed comparative study that the objectives of INTEQUAL do not allow.
addition to the above, the British and Dutch systems, in particular, allow
a certain leeway with training time (advanced GNVQ, three and four years
MBO courses), a possibility not provided by the French system, which would
be interesting to examine in terms of the desire to develop life-long training
Furthermore, the evaluation issue brought up by the GNVQs strongly highlights
a certain number of issues in the French debate about certification and
validation of knowledge and, from a particular angle, clarifies the
debate about the possibility of disassociating training and certification.
systems presented by other countries are more recent. For this reason,
they do not lend themselves to the same type of analysis as longer established
systems, a difference which leads us to be interested more in monitoring
their implementation than in the results of their application.
Consequently, for the issues raised by the French system, the Norwegian
and Swedish systems attract attention for two reasons:
German experimental programmes touch on the issue of integrating academic
subjects with professional subjects, a very current debate in France that
has been revived by the issue of validating acquired professional knowledge
in the professional training system.
Norwegian situation, the system offers gradual access to specialisation,
beginning with ten basic professional specialties in the first year to
nearly eighty in the second and two hundred in the third, developed through
an original tree-like pattern. For French questions about the issues of
cross discipline skills and defining core curricula, the model is an original
approach that could bring together specialists of the two countries.
same time, the system of financial aid to the firms, during the third and
fourth years of training is an interesting model when compared to the various
French systems available to young people for training and facilitating
the transition to professional life.
Finally, the Austrian situation provides food for thought in the areas
of training working adults, the role played by companies in this training
and the recognition given to it by employers.
are somewhat reluctant to use the notion of ‘parity of esteem’ within the
framework of INTEQUAL, and it seems to us that in other countries the same
reluctance is often felt. Creating a professional baccalaureate cannot
be considered, strictly speaking, as the desire to establish a situation
of equality for continuing studies between holders of this baccalaureate
and those of the general or technological baccalaureate degrees. The repeated
and proclaimed objective of the professional baccalaureate degree is above
all to provide an entry into working life. Thus, it seems to us excessive
to claim the parity of esteem as one of the reasons for creating this qualification.
If we put aside the set of issues specific to French professional baccalaureate,
the issue of parity of esteem sometimes leads to a paradoxical attitude.
Parity of esteem tends to promote technological or professional training
by increasing the number of general education courses in technological
and professional training programmes. To do so is to admit that general
education and technological or professional education do not have the same
status since the former enjoys higher recognition than the latter two.
Ultimately, one could even declare that the real proof of parity
of esteem would be introducing technological and professional training
into general education and not the converse.
In these circumstances, we believe that the notion of parity of esteem
should be considered not as a natural explanation of these changes in training
systems - and in particular technological and professional training - but
as a subject of study to clarify these changes. Such a study requires using
rigorous construction of the subject which presupposes at least two prior
the relationships between culture and technology and the variations that
they encounter according to countries;
the social status of workers and the images that young people have of them,
particularly young people in the process or at the end of professional
integrating qualifications, two points can be stressed:
of programme and apprenticeship design, the question of integration is
posed in two ways. The first relates to the integration of traditional
disciplines into coherent “magnets”. The second is related to the professional
integration of knowledge acquired in the classroom and during training
the necessary integration of knowledge, there are the dynamics of social
inte-gration which challenge the traditional roles when educators from
different disciplines must work together in teams, when a joint project
is developed between this team and the firms hosting the students and when
a contractual relationship is formed between the trainee, the educator
and the advisors in the firms.