Maike Luimes: Curriculum policy and practice: Pre-vocational orientation in Norwegian lower secondary school
Positioned in the field of curriculum studies, the PhD project ”Curriculum policy and practice: Pre-vocational orientation in Norwegian lower secondary schools” focuses on “pre-vocational education”, i.e. education with emphasis on the world of work and further education, including vocational education and training.
The interest and motivation for this study is triggered by a recent reform of Norwegian lower secondary school that has the aim to make education more practical, diverse, motivating and relevant. As part of this reform, new school subjects with focus on the world of work are included in the curriculum Knowledge Promotion LK06.
The project is conducted as an article based thesis and each article focuses on a different level of the curriculum discourse. The first article investigates the composition of the Norwegian lower secondary school curriculum with special emphasis on pre-vocational education from a contemporary perspective. The analysed data consist of four official curricula enacted from the 1970s until the present. The second article discusses the political legitimation of pre-vocational education in the recent curriculum through analyzing how the arguments for pre-vocational school subjects in the curriculum Knowledge Promotion LK06 are framed. The research question is answered through an analysis of official policy documents as green and white papers, official hearings and adoptions and debates in the Norwegian Parliament. The third article investigates how the pre-vocational subject arbeidslivsfaget is understood and received in lower secondary school. The empirical data in this article are interviews with heads of schools, teachers and pupils from three different lower secondary schools. The presented approach including the three articles results in a discussion about governance, curriculum studies and enactment of reforms in Norwegian lower secondary school.