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Title: International perspectives
Other Titles: Careers education and guidance in Malta : issues and challenges
Authors: Watts, Anthony G.
Keywords: Vocational guidance -- Philosophy
Career development
Career education
Issue Date: 1997
Publisher: Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd.
Citation: Watts, A. G. (1997). International perspectives. In R. G. Sultana & J. M. Sammut (Eds.), Careers education and guidance in Malta : issues and challenges (pp. 393-412). San Gwann: Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd.
Abstract: There are at least three rationales for studying guidance systems in other countries than one's own. The first is that it demonstrates the cultural relativity of one's own practices. By showing that things are done differently elsewhere, it causes one to question practices which otherwise tend to be taken for granted. The second is that it permits policy borrowing. While direct transplanting of practice from one country to another is problematic, new possibilities can be indicated which can be adapted to one's own situation. The third is that it facilitates international co-operation. Within an increasingly global economy, the growing mobility of students, trainees and workers between countries means that guidance services need to work more closely together: understanding the similarities and differences between guidance systems can help to facilitate such co-operation and make it more effective. Studying guidance systems can be a revealing lens through which to seek to understand another country. It brings into focus the education and training system and the economic system, and the relationship between the two. It also illuminates the social and political structure, and cultural factors concerning the relationship between the individual, the family, and the wider society. Despite all this, the comparative literature on guidance systems is remarkably limited. There are a number of 'travel reports', based on studies conducted by brief visitors. Because these tend to be limited to single countries, however, they usually lack a strong comparative framework. The same is true of collections of country-studies like Drapela (1979). Some studies have attempted to develop a comparative framework from separate country-studies provided by other authors (e.g. Watts and Ferreira-Marques, 1979; Plant, 1990; Watts, 1992). In other cases, the methodology has included first-hand visits by the main author(s), so strengthening the comparative frame (e.g. Keller and Viteles, 1937; Reubens, 1977; Watts, Dartois and Plant, 1988; Watts et al., 1994). Further reports and commentaries have drawn more impressionistically from conferences, visits made over a period of time, and the like (e.g. Reuchlin, 1964; Super, 1974). The paucity of comparative guidance studies contrasts with the now very extensive and theoretically sophisticated literature on comparative education (for a useful overview, see Halls, 1990). Comparative guidance studies can draw on this literature, of course, but they need a broader frame of reference. The present chapter attempts to develop a framework for looking at guidance systems in an international perspective. It draws from the existing studies, and particularly from various studies in which I have been personally involved over the last 25 years. It pays particular attention to the key differences between guidance systems in different countries, and the reasons for these differences. It looks in turn at the extent to which such differences relate to stage of economic development, to the political system, to social and cultural factors, to the education and training system, and to professional and organisational structures. Finally, it explores the pressures towards convergence and divergence between guidance systems. Many of the points made in the chapter are effectively hypotheses based on selective illustrative evidence rather than conclusions based on exhaustive enquiry. It is hoped however that they will encourage more rigorous comparative studies in the future.
ISBN: 9990900779
Appears in Collections:Careers education and guidance in Malta : issues and challenges

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