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Professional development or vocational education

Vocational education (definitions):

  1. Education oriented to professional activity // Glossary of reference documentation
  2. Acquaintance with knowledge and skills for specific profession and specialization // Legal encyclopedia
  3. Process and/or result of professional formation and development of an individual accompanied by acquaintance with knowledge and skills on specific profession and specialization.
  4. etc. //

Like general education, vocational education is oriented towards personal development. Vocational education differs in nature and focus of acquainted knowledge and skills and by formation and improvement of personal settings and qualities that agree with profession (specialization).

Generally, there are vocational technical training, vocational secondary education and higher education.

Vocational technical training (VTT) is the first stage of vocational education. The main goal is to prepare qualified workers. It is provided on the base of main school without secondary education diploma (training time -1-2 years), secondary school (1-2 years), and main school with secondary education diploma (3-4 years).

Vocational secondary education is usually received on the base of complete or incomplete general secondary education in relevant vocational schools. It provides knowledge and skills necessary for unassisted work of certain complexity, management of elementary production chains, and assistance to higher qualified workers.

Higher vocational education prepares higher qualification professionals for different economic sectors.

The obligatory minimal content of every basic vocational curriculum (on specific profession, specialization) is determined by state educational standards.

The basic way to get vocational education (e.g. in Russia) is to study in vocational school, specialized secondary school and in higher educational institutions. On-the job training and training courses are also practiced. There are also advanced training institutes to improve knowledge and skills.

Vocational education is an element of life-long education and can be considered through different prisms (pedagogical, economic, sociological, etc.) as a particular type of education, as process, system, activity, and social institute.

The main objective of vocational schools is professional development of an individual in line with interests, abilities, and socio-economic needs of the society.

Professional development and preparation of professionals with desired qualification are achieved with the help of relevant vocational education programs. The latter include programs of elementary, secondary, higher and postgraduate vocational education.

There are different forms of professional education: off-the-job and on-the-job training, self-education, and external studies.

Elementary vocational education is to prepare skilled employees in all socially beneficial activity spheres on the base of general main and secondary education. This is provided by technical or other relevant level schools.

Secondary vocational education is to prepare mid-level professionals and meet personal needs for deeper education on the base of general main, secondary (complete) or elementary education. This is provided by secondary vocational education institutions (schools, colleges) or first degree higher education institutions.

Higher vocational education is to prepare and re-train relevant level professionals, meet personal needs for deeper education on the base of secondary general and secondary vocational education. This is provided by higher vocational education institutions (universities, academia, institutes).

Postgraduate vocational education provides opportunity to increase education level, scientific and pedagogical qualification on the base of higher vocational education. This is provided by postgraduate training program and doctoral studies at higher educational institutions and research institutes.

Additional educational programs and services are provided to meet training needs of people, society, and state. At every level of vocational education the main objective of additional education consists in continuous professional development in the context of permanent rise of education standards.

Additional education institutions are those that provide additional education programs beyond basic curricula. Those include general education and vocational education institutions, licensed training centers and courses, and individual teaching.

Sources (in Russian):
Professionalnoye obrazovaniye / Slovari i enziklopediyi na Akademike
Professionalnoye obrazovaniye / Slovari i enziklopediyi na Akademike
Ponyatiya professionalnoye obrazovaniye i professionalnaya podgotovka
Professionalnoye obrazovaniye

Author: Rysbekov Yu. Kh., SIC ICWC

Selected bibliography