(2000), "Books. Education, Training and the Future of Work Volume 1: Social, Political and Economic Contexts of Policy Development", Education + Training, Vol. 42 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/et.2000.00442bad.003
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Books. Education, Training and the Future of Work Volume 1: Social, Political and Economic Contexts of Policy Development
Education, Training and the Future of Work Volume 1: Social, Political and Economic Contexts of Policy Development
John Ahier and Geoff Esland (Eds)Routledge1999ISBN: 0415202094£15.99
Keywords: Young people, Higher education, Costs, Careers, Social economics
What are the implications of economic globalization for the future of work? How adequate are current education and training policies for combating the work crisis caused by high unemployment, job insecurity and long working hours?
A central claim of Education, Training and the World of Work Volume 1: Social, Political and Economic Contexts of Policy Development is that public policy in education and training can be properly understood only if it is seen in relation to prevailing economic and employment conditions.
The British Government's response has been to promote flexible employment while proclaiming the importance of improving skill levels through education and training. But the book's authors challenge the adequacy of such an approach. They ask whether reliance on education and training reforms, without additional political intervention in economic processes, is capable of reversing current trends.
Esland writes: "The absence of decently-paid jobs for many young people, coupled with the rising personal costs of education and training, especially for those entering higher education, has led to growing numbers becoming trapped in a cycle of debt and insecurity as they struggle to find jobs which will enable them to gain financial and personal independence.
"Unless the deregulated global economy is able to generate a far higher number of skilled jobs than it has hitherto seemed capable of doing, these young people are likely to find that as they repay their student debts, they will also have to find the resources to insure against future insecurity and poverty as well as providing for their own retirement."
He continues: "In spite of their acknowledgement of the importance of the global free market and its relevance to education and training provision, policymakers and their advisers have been reluctant to engage publicly with the critical challenges that are being made to the underlying premises of current policy ... To a large extent, the globalization project and its significance for education and training are deemed to be non-negotiable.
"As disquieting is the fact that, with the growing emphasis on highly-prescriptive training courses for educational professionals in which there is little scope for critical reflection on the contexts of practice, there is a diminishing space for engagement with issues of the kind we are raising."
The collection of readings in this volume should help to stimulate the necessary debate on the terms of current policy.
The two volumes in this series are readers for the Open University course entitled "Education, training and the future of work", which is a module of the MA in education. The companion volume is Education, Training and the Future of Work Volume II: Developments in Vocational Education and Training.