Transparency: tracing its journey into vocational education and training

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This occasional paper describes the journey of a concept through the use of ethnographic research techniques. The purpose is not to argue for or against transparency but to tell a story of when and where the national vocational education and training (VET) system encountered the openness agenda represented by the word. This description also tells a story of how the concept of transparency has evolved over time, gained widespread support and the yet-to-be completed adoption into the VET sector.

An ethnographic research methodology has been used to increase our total knowledge of how the national training system operates, what gets hidden in its operations and what some of the potential results of pursuing transparency might be. Drawing upon French historian and philosopher Michel Foucault's observations of how Western societies function, the seemingly inevitable capacity of transparency to simultaneously make some things visible while rendering others invisible will be explored as it applies to vocational education and training. In particular, it will be argued that the original goal of using transparency to ensure accountability to the citizens of government actions has been transformed into a requirement for individual private citizens and training providers to make their actions transparent to government officials.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2013 postgraduate research papers
Subtitle of host publicationa compendium
Place of PublicationAustralia
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)nil
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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