Postgraduate taught 

Educational Studies MSc

Vocational Education and Training for Development EDUC51073

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces students to key debates about the role of vocational education and training (VET) in international development, both North and South. Participants will learn about the existing and potential roles of VET in supporting processes of economic, human and sustainable development. They will learn how different international organisations, such as the World Bank, UNESCO and the ILO, shape the global skills development agenda and how this reflects their origins and ideological positions. Participants will also learn about the main typologies of skills formation systems (such as Anglophone and Germanic), their origins in wider political economies, and their influences on other national systems through both aid and policy travel. They will also learn about major modalities of vocational learning (such as apprenticeship, public college programmes and informal sector apprenticeships) and how each of these contributes to public policy goals around development.


Weekly- 2 hour seminar plus weekly individual/small group activities.

Excluded Courses





Assessment will consist of two pieces of written work, worth 25% and 75% of the final grade, respectively. Normally in week 7 of the course, students will be expected to submit a critical review of a national skills system of their choice from the perspective of one of the theories addressed in the course. For the course's summative assessment students are expected to write an essay in which they critically analyse a topic related to one or more of the course sessions.

Course Aims

The courses aims to provide students with knowledge of and appreciation for the importance of vocational education and training for the study of education and development policy. It seeks to develop a thorough understanding of the multi-dimensional relationship between development approaches and education policy. The course is designed to familiarize students with a variety of theoretical perspectives on vocational education and training, and build their awareness of the comparative dimensions of study of vocational education and training. The course aims also to develop students' skills to engage and critically analyse the policies and practices of international actors in vocational education and training.  Through its range of learning activities, the course seeks to stimulate interest in further study of the vocational education and training arena and awareness of the ethical implications of doing work in this field.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate a broad knowledge of key debates in international vocational education and training policy.

■ Comprehend the major forms of vocational education and training provision.

■ Analyse major international policies on vocational education and training.

■ Apply their understanding of vocational education and training internationally to a national or regional case.

■ Synthesise an account of the mechanisms of influence of international actors in vocational education and training policymaking.

■ Critically evaluate the relationship between vocational education and training and approaches to development and global public policy, and form a justified personal position regarding appropriate national and international VET policies.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.