Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training (GOVPET)

Headed by Professor Patrick Emmenegger (University of St. Gallen) and Professor Giuliano Bonoli (University of Lausanne), the GOVPET Leading House is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of St. Gallen, the University of Lausanne, and Germany’s University of Cologne. The GOVPET Leading House explores the manner in which the Swiss VPET system and comparable VET systems in other countries are governed. Our research provides insights that broaden and deepen our understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and success factors of decentralised cooperation, adaptability and social inclusion in VET systems.

The GOVPET Leading House’s research programme explores the systemic governance of dual-track VET systems. Our current research focuses on four topics: (1) public-private partnerships within VET systems, (2) impact of technological transitions on VET, (3) social inclusion within VET systems, especially with regard to migrants and asylum seekers, and (4) transfer of VET expertise to societies that do not have a tradition of VET.

With the first topic, we consider how stable forms of decentralised cooperation can be achieved despite the constant risk of a breakdown in cooperation. Among other things, we explore the question of how private sector actors can be encouraged to adopt a long-term commitment to dual-track VET and an overall societal perspective, even if this runs counter to their own short-term interests. In the case of Switzerland, professional organisations are major contributors to dual-track VET, and therefore have a key role to play in this regard.

The second topic revolves around the adaptation of dual-track VET systems to new social, economic and technological developments. In international comparative studies, GOVPET researchers identified ways in which dual-track VET systems have responded to new challenges resulting from major social trends such as demographic change, digitalisation and globalisation. Here, the focus is on different actors and aspects of the VET system. This topic is particularly relevant in the context of increasing digitalisation.

With the third topic, we examine how governments can encourage private sector actors to embrace societal goals in their activities, with emphasis being placed on the assimilation of disadvantaged persons in the education system. In particular, the aim is to shed light on the extent to which migrants and asylum seekers are integrated within VET systems.

The fourth topic focusses on how dual-track VET expertise is transferred to countries that lack this form of education and training. Here we focus on Eastern Europe in particular. In comparative studies, we highlight the different ways in which the education systems in these countries function. This also helps to shed light on the factors that ensure that VET systems work as they are intended to.

GOVPET is currently (2020-2025) in its second funding period. During the first funding period from 2015 to 2020, a wide range of governance issues were covered. The geographical focus was rather narrow and was limited to the five countries that have relatively strong collective dual-track VET systems: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. In the second funding period, researchers explore specific challenges facing VET systems. Compared to the first funding period, the geographical horizon is broader.