While considering various political and sociological ideologies, tension exists among various perspectives on the purpose of schooling during the transition from school to work. A political standpoint focuses on the tension which exists between government, employees, schools and trainers which are connected with a wide range of power relations, values, practices and conflicts (Spencer & Kelly, 2013). From the perspective of a sociological standpoint, functionalism plays a crucial role in driving the tension as well. The transition from school to work is significant, and in order to understand it thoroughly, it is important to look back at the history of education and schooling policies adopted in Canada (Kuron, Lyons, Schweitzer & Ng, 2015). In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the Canadian education system was informal and voluntary where the children learn and develop their skills from parents, adults, Churches, Sunday school, and other families. During this period, schooling was not only focused on moral and intellectual improvements, however, it also focuses on economic and social development factors of children. The cultural and physical survival techniques were taught to children by indigenous people before European arrived. The ideological world was started to accept by the global citizens in the 18th century.
After the introduction of these policies, the aim of schools changes and the objective of schools were to socialize students in order to support the economic and social structure. During this period, the regulations and acts of school were amended in order to support new political governance. Self-disciple was a key element which was taught to children during this period. Schools become a key part of the state which was focused on supporting the national systems of organized education (Kuron, Lyons, Schweitzer & Ng, 2015). During this period, the curriculum of the schools was decided by the state which was focused on socializing students to social and economic structures. The state was not focused on teaching literacy and structured education to students. The objective of schools was not focused on preparing students for meeting the demands of employers, however, this ideology shifted in the 1930s-1990s. During this period, the curriculums of schools were specifically designed on providing freedom to students where they can choose between selecting their preferred career. During the 1990s, the Canadian Government decided to cut back on the investment made in the public education, and they also decided to increase the costs of further and higher education (Earl, Hargreaves & Ryan, 2013). During this time, the schools were focused on establishing curriculums in order to meet the needs of employers.
It is assumed by Liberal ideology that those students who get better grades in the school are more likely to get better jobs and achievement in their careers. Based on this assumption, this theory provides that the purpose of schooling is to raise the social elite in companies by ensuring that students receive better grades in schools. On the other hand, three ideologies are comprised into the Neo-conservative ideology. These three ideologies include fiscal retrenchment, increasing demand for schools and universities to mimic corporate management techniques, and back to basics in educational institutions (Porter, 2012). As per this ideology, the basic is implied in which the traditional curriculum approach is focused by using teaching styles along with standardized testing. In this approach, there is a close link established between the schools’ curriculum and the needs of employers. As per this ideology, the purpose of schooling is to ensure that students match the job demands in the current labour market. Emile Durkheim has developed Functionalism ideology which focuses on analyzing how society remains stable (Lehmann, 2013). As per this ideology, each part of society plays a crucial function in maintaining its stability. In case a society becomes disorganized, then it should change its functions in order to stabilize itself. As per this ideology, in the evolving society and its demands, it is important the education and schooling levels should evolve too. Individuals are responsible for their own development based on which they should focus on constantly improving the skills and education level to meet the demand of employers in the evolving market.
All these political and sociological ideologies have a substantial influence on the trades due to which tensions exist between employers, governments and unions. It becomes important the schooling curriculums are implemented accordingly to align it with the employers need (Spencer & Kelly, 2013). Moreover, the government also focused on proving tax incentives, apprenticeships and other monetary support in order to ensure that skills and knowledge of students meet the demand of employers. Furthermore, employers also prefer to train employees in order to ensure that they meet the skills required. Taylor (2006) highlighted an example of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) in which students who complete 10th grade and are the age of 16 years are allowed to participate in a carpentry apprenticeship program. During this program, eight-week training is given to student in a mostly government-funded program which is partially funded by management union group. The key issue relating to these apprenticeship programs is deciding who will control the training and certification. In the case of OYAP, the provincial government is responsible for deciding the curriculum of the program along with the provincial advisory committee (PAC) (Taylor, 2006). The PAC is responsible for representing both employers and employees. The government has responded to the suggestion made by PAC regarding making changes in the curriculum of the program which were focused on increasing the time of training to share more information with students.
The request made by PAC in order to include mandatory trade has accepted by the government which assist in increasing the number of people who complete the program. However, it is difficult to meet the diverse demands of employers through a single apprenticeship program. The element of hidden curriculum is referred to a side effect of the schooling system in which the students learned lessons which are not openly intended or included in the curriculum decided (Stern, Finkelstein, Stone, Latting & Dornsife, 2012). The government is not able to decide the lessons learned by students in the hidden curriculum such as during break. These create challenges for ensuring that the students are prepared for the meeting the requirements of employers. These factors resulted in increasing tension between the parties, therefore, the arguments made by Spencer & Kelly (2013) regarding “learning to labour” can be considered as true, however, the outcomes are not effective due to various reasons. While managing the apprenticeship program, the government did not seek advice or guidance from stakeholders such as employers and unions regarding settling the curriculum. It resulted in making the curriculum out-dated which is not suitable to meet the demand of the current work environment.
In conclusion, tension exists
between the content taught to the children in the apprenticeship program and
its delivery due to various political and
sociological ideologies provided based on the topic of transitions from school
to work. The key issue arises because the government is responsible for
deciding the curriculum and programs which are focused on meeting the needs of
employers. It creates tension between the educators, trainers and apprentices
along with the unions and employers. Generally, the government is not able to
update the curriculum as regularly which makes it difficult to align the current
learning with market demand. There is lack
of certification in the carpentry program for voluntary trade which increases the tension as well. In order to address this issue, it is necessary
that the needs of all stakeholders are aligned by the government which will
assist in putting the outcomes of the program on the same page. It will prepare
apprentices for realistic jobs which will assist in the development of society.
Based on considering various political and sociological ideologies relating to transition from work to schooling, the issues which universities should take into considering relating to prior learning should be examined. Various issues which universities need to be aware of will be analyzed while introducing a PLAR scheme.
PLAR is referred to prior learning assessment and recognition which focused on identifying non-formal learning which a student has obtained through his/her job based on specific training programs or their own academic career (Belanger & Mount, 2017). There are three basic assumptions when it comes to PLAR movement in Canada relating to human resource and skills and development. Firstly, it includes important learning which is given outside the classroom. Secondly, this learning should be evaluated by educational intuitions and by employers while hiring and promoting employees (Spencer & Kelly, 2013). Lastly, the training and education facilities which resulted in forcing adults to learn the same lessons are considered as costly, unnecessary and inefficient. In order to assess PLAR, there are various methods which can be used by parties such as demonstration of skills and knowledge, assessment through challenging exams and portfolio assessment. PLAR is a suitable option in assessing technical training where the skills of individuals are evaluated, and the easiest way to determine the learning of a person is through challenge exam.
There are different objectives of education, and in my opinion, the aim of education is focused on transferring knowledge and learning to students which assists them in succeeds in society and their chosen career paths. Many people who are working for a long time go back to schools in order to learn new topics which help them upgrade their skills and knowledge (Lehmann, 2014). In the modern era, the process of learning has broken the classroom walls and students can learn from multiple venues. If they did not prefer to learn through traditional classroom way, then they have the option to gain knowledge from other sources such as distance learning, online courses and others. Universities started to focus on improving learning outcomes, and students can evaluate how they apply to their non-formal and formal learning procedure. The rate of distance learning courses has increased substantially in the past which allow working employees to improve their skills and knowledge as well (Keegan, 2013). Universities use PLAR in order to support diversity of students to support their education to ensure that they get most out of it. From a political perspective, PLAR assists the government in ensuring that students have access to grants and repayments which increases the number of people who pursue higher education. From a sociological perspective, it is important the universities and individuals focus on improving the experience of students relating to their education and its outcomes which is why PLAR is relevant in supporting the education system.
While introducing PLAR schemes, there are certain issues which universities must be aware of. They should ensure that the credit given to students is for learning rather than the experience. The assessment through which the universities assess the students’ learning should be based on standards and criteria which align with acceptable learning standards (Raffe, 2014). The credit acquired by students should be determined by subject matter experts they continuously challenge exams should be conducted for students who enrolled in the program. Appropriate policies and procedures should be introduced by universities which are focused on ensuring that the students are able to appeal their grades. All these guidelines should be made public by the university to ensure that they are accessible by everyone. The universities should evaluate PLAR programs on a regular basis to make appropriate changes in the procedure (Spencer & Kelly, 2013). If this program is not evaluated on a regular basis, then it becomes difficult for the universities to ensure that students have a smooth transition from work to schooling.
In conclusion, there is a wide range of methods, procedures, tools,
assessment and standards which consist of PLAR practice. Evaluation of these
factors is necessary to ensure that each person who is attending the university
is unique, and they need to be responsive regarding rapidly changing workforce
climate to ensure that the education given to students is relevant to meet the
needs of today’s society. Universities should assess various issues which they
face during the transition from work to schooling. PLAR assists the
universities in assessing the needs of today’s society and introduce relevant
changes which are crucial for ensuring that the needs of students are fulfilled, and they are able to acquire new skills and knowledge which is important for
achieving their career goals.
Belanger, C.H. & Mount, J. (2017). Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) in Canadian Universities. Retrieved from http://journals.sfu.ca/cjhe/index.php/cjhe/article/view/183322
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Stern, D., Finkelstein, N., Stone, J. R., Latting, J., & Dornsife, C. (2012). School to work: Research on programs in the United States. Abingdon: Routledge.
Taylor, A. (2006). The challenges of partnership in school-to-work transition. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 58(3), 319–336.