Quality in vocational education and training: an essentially contested concept

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Quality's appeal resides in the genetics of Australia's national training system and its early 1990s development. Deploying Bacchi's application of contested concepts, problem representation and their place in public policy development and implementation, it is argued that quality plays an important systemic transactional function. In addition to serving as a more traditional warranty of skills transfer and acquisition, quality facilitates the operation of a highly complex system by providing a field of contestation, allowing a variety of national organisations to manoeuvre, exert influence and seek control over vocational education and training. This discourse analysis of the contents of key 2013 documents, authorised by four national training system institutions, produced two results. One demonstrates the contested nature of quality - something claiming a singular fixed meaning, but actually showing multiple realities. Secondly, the problems created and promulgated are scrutinised for the related resolution mechanisms that give form to political aspirations. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-271
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Training Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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