Lukas Graf and Anna Prisca Lohse receive Best Paper Award at International Vocational Education Congress

The researchers examine cross-border policy transfer in the field of higher education and vocational training.

As the world becomes ever more interconnected, policymakers increasingly seek to share best practices and adopt successful policies from elsewhere. This especially applies to the policy field of education, which is crucial for creating an informed citizenry and strong knowledge economies. How then can policymakers in the fields of vocational education and higher education cooperate and transfer knowledge across borders?

Lukas Graf, Assistant Professor of Educational Governance, and PhD researcher Anna Prisca Lohse were recently lauded for their work in this area, receiving the Best Paper Award and 1000 Swiss francs at the 7th International Congress for Vocational Education and Training, organised by the Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training (SFUVET).

Published in November 2021 in the journal Research in Comparative and International Education, their paper examines policy integration in the main education sectors preparing people for the job market – higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET). It uses the example of the highly integrated cross-border region of France, Germany and Switzerland.

“In the context of an increasingly interconnected world and growing competition within the global knowledge economy, drawing lessons from other regions and transferring successful policies can be crucial tools for creating strong institutional systems, not least in the realm of education,” Graf and Lohse write.

Graf and Lohse presented their paper, “Conditions for cross-border policy transfer and cooperation: Analysing differences between higher education and vocational training” at the SFUVET congress, which took place online from 2-4 February, and is the foremost European gathering for researchers in the field of vocational education and training research. Their research on the French-German-Swiss Upper Rhine region revealed that conditions there were more conducive to policy transfer in HE than in VET – findings that can also be applicable to other contexts. 

“The institutional analysis shows that demand-side, programmatic, contextual and application conditions are more favourable towards cross-border policy synthesis in HE than VET,” they conclude in the paper. “The specific context of the Upper Rhine region has served as a magnifying glass to identify the respective transfer conditions in a context in which many other factors can be held equal. These findings are likely to be transferable to several other cases of policy transfer and synthesis in the sectors of HE and VET.”

Find the open access paper here.

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