No 2008/03
  Mapping themes of Masters programmes in Europe
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  Dear Colleague

A new edition of the Directory of Masters programmes related to HRD and VET in Europe has been launched, including about 100 programmes in 20 European countries (link below). Thanks again to those of you who have contributed to this edition by sending information on continuing or new programmes!

Directory of Masters programmes <www.master.wifo-gate.org>

Worth noting among the new entries are several Masters programmes on "Vocational Education" and "Wirtschaftspädagogik" (Business and Human Resource Education) introduced at German universities, extending the fairly small group of VET programmes presented in the Directory so far. Furthermore, Masters programmes of three new countries have been included: Cyprus, Greece and Malta.

A new feature of the current edition is a regional map presenting major programme themes by groups of countries:

Regional map <http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/l&w-pro/map.htm>

The method of regional mapping was first explored in a comparative analysis of research profiles related to VET and HRD (see Newsletter No 2008/02):

VET&HRD Base <www.vet&hrd.wifo-gate.org>

This method is now being taken up with regard to themes of Masters programmes, in order to find out whether any thematic patterns can be identified across Europe. The regional analysis is based on the five thematic areas applied for the overview of Masters programmes since the previous edition:

    * Education - Adult education - Lifelong learning (incl. vocational component)
    * Vocational education - Continuing vocational education
    * Human resource development (or component)
    * Business - Human resource management (incl. HRD component)
    * Organisation - Work (incl. learning)

A few observations on the initial mapping of Masters programmes can be made, even though the sample of programmes is as yet fairly small.
There is a remarkable range of thematic areas to be found across all regions. Alongside the specific areas of VET and HRD, the contextual areas of education, business and organisation/work (all of which including VET or HRD as programme units) are strongly represented. The variety of areas is particularly extensive in Western Europe, while the countries of Northern Europe seem to favour the contextual areas of education and organisation/work. The patterns of the two other European regions cannot as yet be identified.
The thematic range of masters programmes in individual countries is, no doubt, closely connected with the overall provision of  national study programmes, but it is also related to research activities at the institutions concerned. In particular the contextual setting, which the majority of programme themes share, corresponds to the profile of VET and HRD related research, as the parallel study (VET&HRD Base) has revealed.
The thematic focus of masters programmes on VET in Germany contrasts with that on HRD in the UK. The German emphasis on VET, also identified in the profile of VET/HRD related research, is rooted in the tradition of vocational education in this country. In the UK, HRD is well established within university teaching and research, backed by the professional body CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), while research institutions outside universities centre their activities on skills development  (VET).

A lot more examples of Masters programmes, particularly from Southern and Central Eastern Europe, would be required in order to identify thematic patterns by country and region. You are welcome to check the present evidence and to help build a more extensive resource base!

Kind regards
Sabine Manning

PS: This issue of the L&W Newsletter is being sent to an extended list including all chairs and contacts of the Masters programmes contained in the Directory.

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 Editor: Sabine Manning © WIFO