"Utdanningsreformer som moderniseringsoffensiv. En studie av hjelpepleieryrkets rekruttering og dannelseshistorie, 1960 - 2006."
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The dissertation describes and analyses how central education reforms through a period of more than 40 years influences on a particular field of vocational education and work, auxiliary nursing. The reforms do not meet a field that is easily reconstructed through central planning and modernisation. The analytical perspective of the dissertation is to study how education reforms interact with other conditions contributing to the shaping of this field, as the established recruitment patterns based on adult females, and the position the auxiliary nurses hold in the division of labour, as subordinated to the nurses. The study is based on empirical data from several research projects finished during the last years and which includes studies of education policy, collective organisation, students and recruitment patterns. This includes interviews with representatives from the educational authorities, the health authorities, local administrators of both education and the care and nursing services, teachers, tutors, and students. It also includes document studies and a large survey of candidates from the auxiliary nurse education..The study also makes use of education and personell statistics from public databases in order to establish time series covering a period of 40 years. The establishment of the auxiliary nurse education in 1963 symbolises a break in the way of recruiting, educating and organizing nursing personnel. Previously nursing had been divided in two, with the registered nurses on the one side and the unskilled on the other. With the auxiliary nurse education a third way was introduced. The education was established under what is described as organized modernity. During this period mass education was organized, occupations were established also on the lower level, the females were entering the labour force, hospitals and nursing homes were build, and new employee organisations were founded. The belief in the rational governing of society through comprehensive state interventions were during this period probably stronger than ever. The establishment of the auxiliary nurse education was, however, not only a modernisation from above. It may partly be seen as a modernisation from below in the sense that thousands of women pushed for the extension of the educational capasity in the field. The further efforts on modernizing the field through education reforms have a stronger character of modernisation from above. To an increasing degree they express the policy of modernizing the educational system; the needs to rationalize and unify educational paths, curriculas and search criterias. The aim was a more effective system giving the whole population equal education offers independent of social class, geography and gender. Through these reforms the auxiliary nurse education is gradually closer integrated into the new upper secondary school. From 1994 it is only offered as an education for adolescents, and the adult educations are closed. However, quite a small number of adolescents opted for this kind of education. The result was a great decrease in recruitment. The reform in 2000, the socalled competency reform, introduces a new scheme giving adults possibilities of going through socalled real competency assesments. This reform unintendedly reopened the traditional recruitment path into auxiliary nursing, attracting thousands of adult females. The most important finding of the dissertation is that there exists a very strong pattern of recruitment into the auxiliary nurse education and occupation among adult females which the educational authorities, though trying hard, have not succeeded in changing through educational reforms. Those applying for auxiliary nurse education today have important similarities with the ones applying in the 1960’s. Most of them are adult females with experience from unskilled care work and caring for their own children and families. The average age of the candidates is 33 years. At the same time the applicants of today are more educated and have longer work experience. The education policy in this field, which still is to recruit adolescents through upper secondary school, must be characterised as a failure. Only a small share of the recruitment, about 20 percent, comes from this group. The costs of this policy seems to be that the professionalisation of the field of work has been suffering. By concentrating on developing an education directed towards the ones who are not being recruited, the educational authorities have abdicated from the role as organizer of education and learning to those who are doing the work and who want education, the adults. This group is left to participate in fragmented, individualised learning scheemes, normally organised on an ad hoc-bases and in close connection to the work places. This may be seen as an example of the resolving of organized modernity with strong collective arrangements as standardised educations and occupations. It is replaced by a modernity giving more space to individual solutions, and where the steering capasity of the state is reduced.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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