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The raison d'être of tourism education

Okamoto, YoheiORCID: 0000-0001-7712-0260 (2016) The raison d'être of tourism education. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This study compares and contrasts the current provision of post-secondary tourism education and training programs between the Higher Education (HE) and the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sectors in Australia. The primary focus of this study is to identify differences and similarities with respect to three philosophical aspects of the programs: ontology (view of reality), ideology (power and perspective), and epistemology (construct of knowledge) in units that are incorporated in the HE and VET tourism programs.

A content analysis of the descriptors of 291 HE and VET units of study (161 and 130, respectively) was conducted. The descriptors were coded according to the qualitative and quantitative attributes of the units. Three-point semantic differential scales were then used to determine the ontological, ideological, and epistemological orientation of each unit.

The results illustrate both considerable similarities and differences of philosophical positions between the HE and VET sectors. Further, they also indicate that while the philosophical positioning of the VET tourism programs is relatively homogeneous due to the nationally standardised curriculum, there is a diverse range of philosophical positions identified in the HE tourism programs reviewed. This suggests that some HE tourism programs are taking very similar philosophical approaches (i.e. viewing tourism as an industry, driven by a vocational ideology and incorporating non-disciplinary knowledge oriented curriculum) and others taking entirely opposite philosophical approaches (i.e. viewing tourism as a phenomenon, driven by a liberal ideology, and incorporating disciplinary knowledge oriented curriculum) compared with the VET sector.

The findings of the study provide an in-depth understanding of the current educational priorities within the VET and HE sectors. This thesis concludes that there is a need for more research into philosophical similarities and differences between the two sectors and the potential impact this has on the development of more sustainable, ethical, globally competitive, and coherent tourism training and education programs.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Lee, Diane and Price, Anne
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