4           IMPACT OF HPE- STUDY PROGRAMMES

4.1. Because of the considerable increase of the demand for professionals at middle management level the hpe-sector in EU-countries turned out to be booming business. In that respect the setting up of this sector was an adequate reaction on the developments in the labour market and on the demands of students. Since about 1990 a similar trend can be perceived in CEEC-countries.

4.2. In order to get a sufficient insight in the labour marketís demands many EU-countries started to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses of the economic sectors resulting in data useful for macro-planning, setting up priorities and curriculum development.  Ideally the setting up of hpe should be based on these so-called sector surveys. Sector surveys, however, require a rather sophisticated methodology as well as the availability of relevant and well-shaped data. Moreover, these surveys take a lot of time. In many CEEC- countries the necessary expertise and data are still lacking. In that respect EU-expertise should be brought in systematically.

However, the actual practice shows that the economic developments in CEEC-countries need an immediate response from the vocational education sector. The setting up of hpe cannot wait for the outcomes of exhaustive surveys. For the time being provisional, global surveys will do. In the meantime CEEC-countries should build up their expertise and their sector databases.

4.3. Apart from this reactive aspect of setting up the hpe-sector many EU-countries make use of hpe in order to further the economic growth in their disadvantaged regions. In that respect their regional development policy in many cases was focused not only on financial support to stimulate economic activities but it also implied the establishment of a hpe-institute. Indeed the presence of a hpe-institute in a particular region has had and still has a great spin off on the regional development in these countries. Youngsters and adults did not have to leave the region anymore to be trained at middle management level. Small and medium sized enterprises could make use of the know-how of a hpe-institute next-door. In fact the setting up of hpe-establishments turned out to be an effective pro-active policy tool. One can imagine that in CEEC-countries this pro-active approach will be fruitful too.

4.4. The hpe-sector is a new sector in which the involvement of the labour market has led to a reassessment of traditional educational methods and contents: teaching through monologues, focused on the transfer of pre-fabricated knowledge and learning by absorbing encyclopedic knowledge to be reproduced at the request of the teacher. All this did not support the development of the studentís skills and attitude the labour market asked for, which resulted in a fundamental change in the educational approach.  (Cf. ß 5)

4.5. In the education system the introduction of hpe-study programmes has led to a revitalization of both higher education and vocational education. The rapidly growing hpe-sector showed the hae-establishments that the youngsters who want to have higher education, now have an alternative next to academic education. This forced the hae-providers to leave the ivory tower and to reconsider their traditional goals and methods.

As far as secondary vet is concerned the introduction of hpe has opened the possibility for secondary vet-graduates to upgrade their qualification without any interruption. Although secondary vet is designed as final education after which one is supposed to dive into the world of work, experience in EU countries shows that a considerable amount of secondary vet-graduates is seeking to upgrade their qualification.

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