Published August 28, 2020 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

On the Dominance of the Apprenticeship-System in Switzerland. Insights into Governance Mechanisms in the Institutionalisation of Upper-Secondary-Education

  • 1. School of Education, University of Applied Sciences Basel-Muttenz
  • 2. Leibniz Universität Hannover,
  • 1. University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland
  • 2. Bern University of Teacher Education
  • 3. University College London


The aim of this paper is to reconstruct governance mechanisms that are responsible for the fact that, despite international trends towards the academisation of education, in Switzerland the apprenticeship-system has remained dominant in comparison to a more general school-based pathway. To this end, we analyse how, in the process of institutionalisation of upper secondary education from 1970 onwards representatives and advocates of dual VET intervened against the institutionalisation of the Specialised School – a more general education-oriented and school-based education – as a third federally recognised educational pathway. To analyse the governance processes that underlie these educational policy debates, we apply the social mechanisms and logics described by Mahoney (2000) that can explain both reproduction and path-dependent development as well as institutional change and reconstruct them for two situations of central historical importance. 



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