Finnish VET representatives’ interpretations of inclusion

At this link, you can find the study published by Häme University of Applied Sciences – Finland, which aims to learn about Finnish VET representatives’ perceptions of inclusion. Discussions and research on inclusion in education have mainly concentrated on the comprehensive school context, although vocational education and training (VET) students may have multiple, intersectional experiences of disadvantage. Our data included representatives (N=53) from five different Finnish VET sectors. Through semi-structured interviews, we investigated their interpretations of inclusion.

We applied an abductive approach in our analytical process that followed the principles of qualitative content analysis. Our findings indicated that the definition of inclusion is ambiguous. At the administration level, inclusion was related to ideology, whereas teachers spoke about special education practices. Work-life representatives connected inclusion to the principles of communality, and students appreciated this understanding and individual solutions in their studying and workplace learning. This study supports the view of earlier studies and addresses a need for shared understanding and values to engage with inclusion in practice. The VET sector would benefit from discussions and training in inclusion and inclusive principles, where the study works as an initiator.

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