Strengthening Student Voice in Higher Vocational Education
This preliminary research explores the concept of ‘student voice’ and associates student voice with the core assignment of Higher Vocational Education: vocational preparation (qualification and socialisation) and general education (general education and emancipation). A theoretical analysis is followed by a case study of student participation within the Hague University of Applied Sciences: how does student voice manifest itself and what are hindering and supportive factors? (Half-)open interviews among students from various faculties and a questionnaire put to all students involved in participation councils, are used to generate insight into the various ‘forms and degrees that student participation may take on and suggest possible ways to strengthen these. The conclusion of the theoretical study is that three forms of participation, ‘being heard’, ‘collaboration’ and ‘leadership’, jointly contribute to the development of a learning and work environment in which shared responsibility is taken, based on openness, respect, equality, reciprocity and shared responsibility, for the development of the different parts of the learning community and for the university as a whole. Based on the empirical research, it is concluded that there is scope for improvement for the Hague University of Applied Sciences, which would entail involving students more seriously in decision-making, at classroom, curricular and organisational levels.
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