general education

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An education designed to support the development of the learner as an individual, rather than to equip him or her with specific, vocationally related skills. In this sense, a general education may be defined as developmental rather than instrumental. It is a term which is often used in differentiating an academic route, such as that represented by General Certificate of Secondary Education and Advanced Level, from a vocational route, for example through the various levels of National Vocational Qualifications. A general education may be described as ‘broad’, in contrast with the acquisition of narrowly focused skills for work. For historical reasons, a general education still tends to be accorded a higher status in some quarters than a vocational education or training. The 14–19 Diploma and the Applied GCSE, while designed to have a broad vocational focus, are nevertheless often presented as consistent with a general education curriculum, perhaps in the same sense that led to the choice of name for the General National Vocational Qualification (1992–2007), suggesting that, while the contexts used are vocational, the skills and understanding developed, such as literacy, numeracy, analysis, and synthesis, are transferable and general. See also liberal education; parity of esteem; Taunton Report.

Subjects: Education.

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