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Dually oriented Qualifications
A knowledge base related to the LEONARDO projects INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL

Key message to researchers

The key messages to be drawn from this project for researchers relate perhaps as much to the process of the research as to its content. The breadth of coverage of content on the issue of qualifications that are oriented both to the labour market and to higher education in any case mitigates any simple summary of key points for researchers. The key points for researchers are those that the researchers are interested in, and this whole knowledge base has been set up so you can find that in which you are interested. The devil is in the detail, and we hope that it is possible for you to use this knowledge base in ways whereby you can mine the material here for useful insights, and transform and add to the material to create new knowledge. 

Also time moves on, and the issues highlighted here belong to particular contexts and for researchers to make use of this material they have to be able to apply ideas generated here to new contexts, new debates and new configurations of collaborative research. It may be that in some countries, such as Denmark and the UK, there is less concern at the policy level about the relationship between general and vocational education and training than ten years ago. The issues for research have perhaps become more focused upon curricular issues and issues of social inclusion are perceived as more central. 

A wide range of issues concerning qualifications that are oriented both to the labour market and to higher education were explored by the DUOQUAL project, which included sixteen European partners. The conceptual framework for the project was defined in the precursor INTEQUAL project. The INTEQUAL project explored the concept of integrating general and vocational education components in the upper secondary curriculum for the purpose of generating dual qualifications, that is the skills, knowledge and understanding required either for progression into higher education or entry into employment. The DUOQUAL project generated findings from national case studies, collaborative topic investigation and comparative analyses across countries. The national case studies focused upon key contextual, curricular and organisational implications of integrating general and vocational education. National context conclusions drawn by each partner are electronically accessible in English and in the national language as well. The collaborative topic investigations focused upon the conceptual underpinnings of national schemes with a dual orientation (Czech Republic, Finland); developments concerning the concept of generic skills (Denmark, Italy); and new job skills as a means to facilitate youth placement in the labour market (Portugal, Greece). Summaries of the topic studies are available in English (for the complete studies and related papers see DUOQUAL REM folder).

The evidence generated by both projects (INTEQUAL and DUOQUAL) could inform further research upon: 

  • Ways for general education to provide a platform for the contemporaneous or subsequent development of occupational skills.
  • How vocational training can provide sufficient breadth in terms of general educational development such that individuals are not locked into narrow occupational pathways with little prospect of vertical progression or horizontal movement. 
  • Ways to generate institutional, curriculum and organisational flexibility of higher education systems so as to accommodate students from a more diverse range of backgrounds, including students from vocational education pathways. 
  • Innovative ways in which general education and vocational training components can be combined prior to, during and after upper secondary education, such that vocational education pathways are not stigmatised as the province of those with low levels of educational achievement. 
  • Whether qualifications at upper secondary level that are oriented both to the labour market and to higher education can set up expectations that both occupationally-specific skills and general education can continue to be developed in the context of a commitment to life long education and training. 
  • Ways to develop higher order skills in upper secondary and vocational higher education.
  • How to use vocational themes as a context for learning within general education.
The research partners involved in INTEQUAL and DUOQUAL have paid particular attention to the question of "what  can we learn from one another?" Discussions were explicitly set up to facilitate the sharing of knowledge for mutual learning (for more detail on these processes see  Lessons of mutual learning and the DQ roundtable programme). The lessons learned from the DUOQUAL project are presented in summary form elsewhere in this knowledge base and in a more extended form in Manning (2000b). 

Overall, the INTEQUAL and DUOQUAL projects have been very successful in sharing knowledge across the research partnership, and the DUOQUAL knowledge base represents an interesting attempt to share understandings with other researchers too. The knowledge base has played a role in giving others a feel for work in progress and it is possible to see how issues inter-relate. The major disadvantage for other researchers though is that this remains a static information base, with which it is not possible to engage from the outside. If this knowledge base could be combined with telematic tools for knowledge sharing and transformation then this would allow other researchers to play a much more active role in processes of collaboration and knowledge creation through using and transforming the material in ways that are meaningful for them. Still that is our next task and we hope you will join us in creating information-rich collaborative research environments with facilities for collaboration and knowledge creation (find out more about this initiative on the CEDRA page). 

Alan Brown, on behalf of the DUOQUAL partnership, April 2000

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 First set up: 03/05/2000
Latest update: 29/07/2000
 Contact: Sabine Manning