Till nytta eller onytta: Argument rörande allmänna ämnen i ungas yrkesutbildning i efterkrigstidens Sverige

Kristina Ledman


The present article focuses on the role of general subjects in the curriculum for vocational education and training (VET) in Swedish upper secondary schools after the Second World War. It shows that a steady increase in general VET subjects as a result of Social Democratic legislation in 1968 and 1991 was interrupted by a Liberal-Conservative government bill introduced in 2009, which led to a reduction. The rhetoric of these reforms is analyzed with the intent of increasing insight into the perceived educational benefits of general subjects in VET. The study employs the analytical lens of Gert Biesta and his proposed major functions of education: qualification, socialization, and sub­jectification. The results serve to illuminate the present-day educational po­licy debate, showing that the place of general subjects in the curriculum has been motivated by the important role they play in educating youth in demo­cracy, teaching them to function effectively in an increasingly international­ized and multicultural society and economy, for their lifelong learning and for the continued economic growth of the Swedish society. With the enactment of the government bill of 2009, however, the qualifying function of general subjects in VET was devaluated. The new curriculum that followed prioritized strictly vocational skills and the transition of graduates directly into the labour market.

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