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Taking responsibility for a marginal vocation: Mother tongue teacher training and the logistics of autonomous higher education in Sweden
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Teaching and Learning Language, Literature and Media.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Higher education in Sweden has experienced increasing competitive pressure, while adopting paradigms borrowed from market philosophies (Beach, 2013). As in other European ountries, macro steering, incitaments and criteria for endorsing specific programmes operate through aggregated quality indicators, and tend to be more concerned with international ranking (Hazelkorn, 2008) than with meeting domestic needs. Additionally, deep-running tensions exist between what is seen as academic ’excellence’ and vocational relevance (Slantcheva-Durst, 2010). Despite a supposed increase in autonomy, forward looking strategic planning at university level is narrowly constrained (Bleiklie & Michelsen, 2013). While the nation-wide lack of qualified teachers has been amply documented, no concerted efforts are made to remedy the situation. Recruitment difficulties are exasperated by poor working conditions (cf. the situation in Norway, Valenta, 2009). Assuming comprehensive training in the more than 130 languages taught as mother tongue in Sweden would be daunting to manage alone for any single institution. On the other hand, the administrative burden of initiating cooperation across institutions is prohibitive, as well as the cost of managing coordination between a large number of partner institutions – within and outside Sweden. Competition between universities further reduces chances for effective cooperation. The ambition of equivalent standards and symmetrical structures in terms of credit requirements, progression or definition of levels ignores the substantial differences in actual conditions pertaining to different languages, student groups or locations. Finally, in a markets-driven higher education landscape, costly specialisations become dependent on direct targeted external financing. Without private or public sponsorship, the ratio between the number of highly specialised teacher trainers needed to establish credible programmes and the potential number of students per course is not financially viable for the course provider, particularly concerning smaller languages. Sweden has formerly held a vantaged position with respect to life-long learning (Boström, Boudard & Siminou, 2001), allowing continuous and flexible refinement of competences for active professionals. Today, the combined forces of marketisation and the Bologna process appear instead to have created relatively rigid structures that tend to favour a broad massified mid-section of the educational market, but make it difficult to maintain more specialised or rapidly changing disciplines.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Mother Tongue Tuition, Sweden, teacher education, higher education, language policy
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-29085OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-29085DiVA: diva2:894263
Conference
NERA 2015 - Marketisation and Differentiation in Education, Gothenburg, March 4-6 2015
Available from: 2016-01-14 Created: 2016-01-14 Last updated: 2016-01-22Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
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  • vancouver
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Language
  • de-DE
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Output format
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