FINNBASE
Enhancing the attractiveness of vocational education
A knowledge base on Finnish and European experience
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Introduction
 

Aim

The Finnish knowledge base (Finnbase) is intended to inform the debate in Finland on how to improve the standing and quality of vocational education. This will be achieved by providing continuous feedback from project research of Finnish and European partnerships. In particular, the Finnbase will serve to

  • disseminate the output of the LEONARDO projects POST-16 STRATEGIES/ SPES-NET and INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL which have been coordinated by the IER Jyvaskyla and WIFO Berlin in the framework of the LEONARDO DA VINCI Programme;
  • support the effect of the Finnish dissemination project AKALE as a follow-up of the POST-16 STRATEGIES projects;
  • contribute to the efforts supported by CEDEFOP of creating linked knowledge bases on major issues in European vocational education;
  • assist the Finnish valorisation of the outcomes of LEONARDO DA VINCI.
The Finnbase is envisaged as a tool for accompanying ongoing research and for facilitating continuous dissemination. Its conceptual framework is open for knowledge creation in a process of discourse. The design is such that researchers themselves can be the collaborative producers and maintainers of the knowledge base. 

Approach

The starting point for the Finnbase is the study on "how to improve the standing of vocational as against general education" prepared by Johanna Lasonen and Sabine Manning for the CEDEFOP Research Report 1999 [Lasonen & Manning 1999a]. This study attempts to provide a secondary analysis of various European projects concerned with the relation between vocational and general education at post-secondary level. In the analysis, three aspects are considered: curriculum/ learning, education system and labour market. On this basis, a model of criteria is applied which relates the 'standing' to the quality of VET. The three criteria are personal competence (incl skills), educational mobility (for lifelong learning), and occupational mobility (at the labour market). 
The central category of secondary analysis applied in the Finnbase is the measure (action) which is expected to improve the quality and standing of vocational education. Such measures can be major reforms, various guided actions, pilot projects or other initiatives. Each measure is related to the basic issue (problem) which it addresses and the impact which it has. 

Pattern of analysis

According to the above framework and pattern, the output of research on both Finland and the rest of Europe can be related to one another. The guiding question should be: which are the issues/ measures (plus impact) in Finland and what is the equivalent experience in Europe? In this approach of matching issues/ measures across Europe the cultural and systemic context plays a vital role (essential component of describing the issue, measure and impact in each case). 
The results of secondary analysis are presented in brief Reviews (modules focused on individual measures), with references to the investigation in various original sources (project reports, studies etc). The reviews are considered as analytical interfaces for following up current research output and feeding this into the political debate. The pattern of reviews is set out in more detail, including a template for contributors. Special pages of discussion and reflection will be included for this purpose. As a service to policy makers a page presenting key messages will be added.

  Collaboration

The Finnbase is being built in collaboration of various experts. In contrast to the normal division of labour between authors (providing their original research results) and designers/ webmasters (creating and maintaing the base), the Finnbase emerges as direct environment and product of team work. At the initial stage, the Finnbase is developed in an html structure on the website of WIFO. The collaborative approach is facilitated by applying a simple design, with templates being made available for direct input or revision of text by the authors. For the advanced stage, it is envisaged to provide a data base combined with tools for direct input via down- and up-loading on the website of IER/ University of Jyvaskyla.

Acknowledgements

The Finnbase is being developed in the framework of a research visit by Dr Sabine Manning, WIFO Berlin, at the Institute for Educational Research (IER), University of Jyväskylä, March to December 1999. This visit was applied for by Dr Johanna Lasonen (IER)  as part of the collaboration between both researchers in coordinating the LEONARDO partnerships POST-16 STRATEGIES and INTEQUAL/DUOQUAL. The visit  is supported by a scholarship from the Finnish Academy, while the IER provides the working environment and  Dr Johanna Lasonen coordinates the programme. The Finnbase, designed and edited by Dr Sabine Manning, is a joint undertaking of WIFO and the IER, involving both web sites, with technical assistance by Juha Lahti and Marja-Liisa Mustonen (IER). Colleagues of the IER and the LEONARDO partnerships collaborate in providing the reviews, comments and resources of the Finnbase.

Reference

The concept of the Finnbase is outlined in Manning 1999a.

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  First set up: 17/06/1999
Latest update: 24/03/2000
 Contact: Sabine Manning
© WIFO/ IER Jyvaskyla


Finnbase homepage
Introduction
Access to reviews
Index of reviews
Info on authors
Sources
Pattern of reviews
Guide for contributions
Explanatory notes