14 SES 04 A, Educational Trajectories of Young People – Attempts to Describe and Explain
In recent debates, changes in the governance of education have been addressed in terms of lifelong learning, knowledge societies, marketisation, and transnational educational spaces. As a part of this, educational research has focussed on assessing the outcomes of education while taking also effects of social inequalities into account. Less attention has being given to the ways in which educational processes and educational trajectories actually do emerge and the transitions within such trajectories which imply decision-making processes. This requires an interactive understanding of educational processes and of educational governance such as provided by a life course perspective which addresses the interplay between the institutionalization of individual lives and subjective biographies (Settersten & Gannon, 2005). Thereby the life course includes perspective a broad understanding of governance resulting from the interaction among institutional and individual actors inside and outside school, between welfare and education systems – at the local, national and transnational level. It is our befief that education research and policy needs to acknowledge the relevance of all these levels and account for them from the beginning when designing, implementing and assessing research and policy projects. This implies analysing the regulation of access into initial and further education, the possibilities of coping with education through mobilising formal and informal support, and the subjective and systemic relevance of education. Finally, a life course perspective facilitates comparative analysis inasmuch as it allows for functional equivalence across different social contexts (Walther, 2006).
The paper aims at the following objectives: first, it suggests a combined life course and governance perspective as appropriate for analysing educational trajectories across disciplinary boundaries; second, it introduces the objectives and the design of a current EU-funded project applying such a perspective; and third, it presents some preliminary findings.
The project “Governance of Educational Trajectories in Europe” (GOETE) analyses how educational trajectories of children and young people between the end of primary education and the beginning of post-compulsory routes are being regulated in eight different EU-member states: Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and the UK.
The paper will present some initial findings from the surveys with students, parents and school principals allowing for a mapping of educational trajectories across different educational spaces.
Maroy, Christian (2004): Changes in Regulation Modes and Social Production of Inequalities in Education Systems: a European Comparison. Reguleduc network final report. Leuven: University of Leuven. Settersten, Richard A./Gannon, Lynn (2005): Structure, agency, and the space between: On the challenges and contradictions of a blended view of the life course, in: Levy, René/Ghisletta, Paolo/LeGoff, Jean-Marie/Spini, Dario/Widmer, Eric (Hrsg.): Towards an interdisciplinary perspective on the life course. Advances in life course research Vol. 10. London: Elsevier, S. 37-57. Walther, Andreas (2006): Regimes of Youth Transitions. Choice, flexibility and security in young people’s experiences across different European contexts, in YOUNG, 14(1), S. 119-141.
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