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The 2+2 scheme and institutional collaboration in the reform 94 in Norway
NO-01-C6
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Issue The major problems of the former vocational education system included the following:
- The status and esteem of vocational education were low.
- Many educational tracks in secondary school gave no formal competence.
- A number of vocational tracks did not offer three year complete education.
- There existed few or no links between training in school and workplace training.
- There were different curriculum or training plans for the education taking place in school and the apprenticeship training at the workplace, and therefore a lack of connection and continuity in the complete vocational education.
- There was a lack of places for the apprentices in the enterprises.
- The drop out problem was severe. (K.A. 10/11/99) 
Norway and Finland share many of the problems of vocational education. The low status, lack of attractiveness and high drop out rates have been the main weaknesses in Finland, too. However, all vocational tracks give formal competence in Finland, but the eligibility for continuation studies has been more limited than the eligibility provided by the academic upper secondary school.
     In Norway vocational education has been given by schools and as workplace training. In contrast, the Finnish vocational education is traditionally very school-based, and the role of appreticeship training has been fairly marginal. Finnish vocational education has been criticized of being too school-centered with few connections to working life. (P.V. 16/03/00)
Measure The Reform 94 gave students a statutory right to three years of secondary education including an apprenticeship. The upper secondary school was organized as combined schools where both academic and vocational education took place in the same physical area, mostly in the same buildings. The 2+2 scheme implies that students in vocational tracks spend two years in school and one or two years as apprentices in an enterprise. If the student chooses a two year  apprenticeship, half of the time will be spent in productive work, for which the apprentice is paid. The new system implies that the school authorities in each county have to find a sufficient number of apprenticeship places that accord with the wishes of the students. If the places cannot be found, the authorities must, as an exceptional provision, arrange this part of the students` education to take place in school. Common curriculum plans for both the school part and the apprentice part of the vocational education were developed.
    Measures for institutional collaboration on a local level were established through so-called Training Circles and Offices for Vocational Training. This is organized cooperation between two or more enterprises having a common need for trained workers or having decided to enter apprenticeship training together and in cooperation. The municipal school authorities have a secretariat that provides support and help in establishing and running the circles and offices. On the local level there is little or no formal organized cooperation between the apprenticeship enterprises and the schools. This does not mean that there is a complete lack of contact between the schools and the workplaces, only that the initiative in cooperation is placed on each individual school teacher and each instructor in the enterprises which take on apprentices. In fact, in most schools there are teachers who, as a part of their job, maintain contact with the working life. (K.A. 10/11/99) 
In Norwegian Reform 94 can be found some similarities to latest educational reforms in Finland. 
    In Norway academic and vocational education was organized in combined schools. At the same time, in Finland co-operation between vocational and academic schools (including cross-institutional study choices) has  considerably incrased, but without institutional integration.
    In Finland the vocational programmes on the upper secondary level were reformed one year after Norwegian reform, in 1995. Like in Norway, all programmes were lengthened up to three years. Instead of "2 + 2 " scheme in Finland was used model "2 + 1", which means that all the vocational programmes include one year period of on-the-job training (in former system it was couple of weeks). 
   In addition, all three year vocational programmes provide after reform (1995) formal eligibility for further education, the same as academic upper secondary school. In Norway, as well, the Reform 94 improved the possibilities of vocational students to continue studies on higher level.
  Further, one aim of the latest Finnish reforms was to enhance connections and create more linkages between schools and indunstry and enterprises and to increase apprenticeship training; all in all, to improve co-operation between schools and work life. (P.V. 16/03/00)
Impact An evaluation report delivered in spring 1999 concludes that the reform 94 had a positive impact on the vocational education, including the following effects: 
- The number of students in vocational tracks exceeded 50 per cent.
- There was a considerable increase in the number of apprenticeship places and contracts.
- New curriculum plans enhanced the content of vocational education.
- More than 91 per cent of the apprentices passed the examination and got the vocational certificate. (K.A. 10/11/99) 
From the Finnish viewpoint the impact  of Norwegian reform looks  encouraging. There has been  remarkable development in different areas of results, and it has happend in fairly short time. In Finland effects of latest reforms are not as obvious as in Norway and they seem to come out more slowly. (P.V. 16/03/00)
Reference For further reading there are contributions in English on the Norwegian reforms in upper secondary education and particularly the Reform 94 (Andersen 1996a/ Andersen 1996b) and on the links between educational establishments and enterprises (Andersen 1999a). A more detailed study on academic and vocational education in Norway has appeared in Norwegian (Andersen 1999b). The official documents on the reform (in Norwegian) have been published by the Ministry of Church and Education (Stortingsmelding nr. 32, 1998-99; nr. 33, 1991-92).  (S.M. based on K.A. 10/11/99)   
Author Kjell Andersen Paivi Vuorinen

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