01 SES 13 B, Education and Work – Revisiting the Educational Tensions in the Context of the ‘End of Work’
In the last decades, several theorists have openly discussed “the end of work” (Rifkin, 1995) that results from the globalization of our knowledge-based economies and the challenges rose by this phenomena given the centrality of work in contemporary societies. As Méda (1996) underlies, “work is [still] today the main vehicle for the formation of social relationships and for self-fulfillment, [even if] this has not always been the case or will be in the future” (p. 633).
However, the implications of these phenomena in the education field have been paradoxical, with a raise – not a contraction – of the emphasis on vocational education, employability and entrepreneurship at all educational levels, from compulsory to higher education. It is important to note that this is not a “new” educational goal. In fact, even in higher education, this is quite a traditional emphasis: in a historical analysis of the roles of higher education, Zgaga (2009) identifies a Napoleonic archetypal model that accentuates the role of the university in preparing students for their future professions. But, as work becomes more and more a threatened, intermittent and occasional good, more and more do educational policies - particularly, but not exclusively, in Europe - emphasize the role of schools in the promotion of the knowledge and skills related to employability, professionalism and, more recently, entrepreneurship (e.g., Lisner, 2006).
The problems, conflicts and complexities that this relationship between education and work raises from secondary education to higher education, from vocational schools to university lifelong learning are the topic of this symposium that includes researchers from Portugal, Germany and the UK. The papers address how these issues are being faced by different educational institutions and what strategies are being used to cope with these contemporary challenges that put them in the impossible position of raising employability in a jobless world. Believing, like Paulo Freire (1970), that conscientization is necessary for transforming reality we hope that the discussion will also contribute to undertake a reappraisal of the roles of education.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogia do Oprimido. Paz e Terra.
Lisner, A. (2006). Education or Service? Remarks on teaching and learning in the entrepreneurial university. Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 38, No. 4, 483-495.
Méda, D. (1996). New perspectives of work as value. Int Labour Review, 135, 6, 633-643.
Rifkin, J. (1995). The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. Putnam Publishing group.
Zgaga, P. (2009). Higher education and citizenship: “the full range of purposes”, European Educational Research Journal, 8, 2, 175-88.
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