Learning and Formation Policies in Trentino-South Tyrol

Intercontinental Master’s Program in Adult Learning and Global Change

Course: Work and Learning  (UBC, Vancouver, Canada) Assignment 1.3: Final Post

Instructors: Dr. Garnet Grosjean

Discussion Group: The IncREDibles    Tutor: Deo Bishundayal            Date: 02/ 13/2009


How would you classify the policies pursued toward work and learning by your own country compared to the descriptions provided in the readings? In other words, are the suggestions in the readings similar or different from what you perceive happening in your country? Maximum length for this submission is 1000 words.

ASSIGNMENT 1.3 FINAL POST (link to Itslearning forum)

ASSIGNMENT 1.3 FINAL POST (link to e-portfolio)

ASSIGNMENT 1.3 FINAL POST (link to posts)


According to Italian Law, in the Region Trentino-South Tyrol education and skill formation are the domain of the autonomous provinces of Trent and Bolzano. Consequently, in these matters provincial laws override national laws and regulations. (Statuto Speciale, Art. 8)

This post will address how this assignment’s questions relate to the case of the Autonomous Province of Trent, next referred to as “the Province.”

Brief overview of the provincial context for work and learning.

The provincial system of “Education and Formation” is regulated by a provincial law, a long and comprehensive document that addresses many aspects of education and professional formation in the Province. (Legge 7 agosto 2006 n. 5) Next are some salient principles presented in the law that I deem relevant to this post:

  • The establishment of a comprehensive education system named “Provincial Education System (sistema educativo provinciale); (Art. 1)
  • The central role of public schools; (Art.2)
  • The definition of learning as relevant to human, cultural, social and professional development, from a perspective based on social integration and the building of relations with others and the region. (Art.2)
  • Education and professional formation must promote local economic and social sustainable development, and also support individuals’ choices with regard to work opportunities at the local, national, and European level. The curriculum must be informed by principles of peace, solidarity and international co-operation; (Art.2)
  • The recognition of and support for life-long education and learning;(Art.2, 68)
  • Provision for inclusion with regard to people with special needs and social disadvantages;(Art.2)
  • The promotion of professional formation and development through opportunities available locally, in the E.U. and abroad;(Art.2)
  • The promotion of co-operative education projects between the Provincial Education System and regional society and enterprises;(Art.2)
  • The presence of a network of vocational schools and of co-operative  venues for formative work experiences (similar to Canada’s); (Art. 65)
  • The establishment of a system for “advanced professional formation” (alta
  • formazione professionale); (Art. 67)
  • The promotion of Adult Education opportunities at different levels; (Art. 69)
  • The view of Education and life-long learning as both agents and product of “active citizenship.” (Art. 61, 69)

Brief comparative Analysis of the local context.

Although it was difficult to locate material on the topic with regard to the Province of Trent, I believe that – based on my own learning in this course – the system established by the Provincial Government is consistent with European Union policies. In particular, the important concept of “active citizenship” presented in the Provincial Law also appears in a citation in the ILO chapter. According to the EU Memorandum on lifelong learning, active citizenship is about how “people participate in all spheres of economic and social life, the chances and risks they face in trying to do so, and the extent to which they feel that they belong to, and have a fair say in, the society in which they live”. Furthermore, The Cologne Charter (1999) – also cited by ILO – calls for “a renewed commitment by governments, investing to enhance education and training at all levels; by the private sector, training existing and future employees; and by individuals, developing their own abilities and careers.” Universal access to learning and training for all, including the disadvantaged and illiterate, and the importance of life-long learning is also emphasized.(Chapter 1, p. 7) In its provincial education and formation network, the Province seems to adhere to accepted European views and recommendations.

I perceive the provincial system as a mixture of traditional learning approaches and social constructivist views. It is the result is a holistic framework that organizes the different levels of education, formation, professional development, co-operative projects, and life-long learning in agreement with broad and inclusive E.U. recommendations. These ideas find support in Illeris’ article, particularly in his model of multilayered learning based on a social constructivist approach that views learning as wrapping around several dimensions that include both the social and individual levels; cognition and emotions; and technical-organizational and socio-cultural contexts.(Illeris, pp.432,434,440)

In the past, at least in Europe, we have witnessed a welfare view of society that influenced many of the employment and formation policies in the European Community first, and later in the E.U. As explained in Kearns and Papadopoulos’ article, to this day, many countries’ education and training plans are founded on such premises. (2000)

Historically, education in the Province is rooted in the Central European tradition that still informs relevant policies in Austria and Germany, where a dual system of cooperation between educational institutions and employers exists. (Kearns and Papadopoulos, p.4). However, I believe that the original framework has been expanded and adapted to the needs of today’s society. In a systemic effort to develop an all-encompassing view of future developments, the provincial government has integrated policies of social inclusion with – among others – policies that recognize the need for personal growth/affirmation and environmental/economic sustainability.

I think that the provincial system strongly promotes “social capital.” However, I believe that such concept is understood in the terms defined by the OECD as “aspects of social life – the existence of networks, institutions, policies, norms and relationships – that enable people to act together, create synergies, and build partnerships,” (Kearns and Papadopoulos, p.16), rather than by Putman’s initial definition as “the networks, norms, and social trust in a given social organization that enable cooperation and collaboration toward mutually beneficial outcomes.” (Smith, p. 70)

In conclusion, I would argue that the Province is moving away from the original idea of education being a product of the welfare state and part of a dual system that benefited the needs of late 20th century’s employment market. We are witnessing the transformation of the aforementioned approach into a matrix of relationally connected learning contexts that engages the many stakeholders and agents in and outside the region. This results into a multileveled dialogue aimed at the development of experiences of life-long learning towards the construction of professional competencies and active citizenship at the local, national, European, and international level.


This post was based on Block 1 readings. Additional resources are listed below, together with the sources cited in the post.


Illeris, K. (2004). A Model for Learning in Working Life. Journal of Workplace Learning, 16 (8), 431-441.

International Labour Organization. Learning and Training for Work in the Knowledge Society. (Only Chapters 1 and 2 required reading.) Retrieved January 5, 2009 from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/skills/hrdr/report/ch_int.htm

Kearns, P. and Papadopoulos, G. (2000). Building a Learning and Training Culture: The Experience of Five OECD Countries. National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Leabrook, Australia. Retrieved on January 30, 2009 from http://www.ncver.edu.au/research/proj/nr9015.pdf

Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Legge 7 agosto 2006 n. 5, Sistema educativo di istruzione e formazione del Trentino, (08/16/2006), Bollettino ufficiale della Regione Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol n. 33, suppl. n.2 (testo originale), Retrieved on Feb.9, 2009 at http://www.vivoscuola.it/Normativa/Leggi-prov/doc/LEGGE-PROVINCIALE-7-agosto-2006-n.-5-vigente-al-05.11.07.pdf

Smith, P.J. (2003). Workplace Learning and Flexible Delivery. Review of Educational Research 73 (1), 53-88.

Statuto Speciale per la Regione Trentino-Alto Adige/Suedtirol, Testo unico – D.P.R. 31 agosto 1972, n. 670, (11/20/1972), Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, n. 301, Retrieved on February 10, 2009  at: http://www.regione.taa.it/normativa/statuto_speciale.pdf


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