This chapter will address how the practices and concerns of the workplace, and, by implication employment, intersect with education. Characteristic of this topic is the breadth and quality of writing accompanied by continued uncertainty and lack of consensus on appropriate theoretical tools and thus interpretations of evidence. I shall pursue some preoccupations which have developed over 20 years of work in this broad area as a practitioner, researcher and evaluator.
In the late 1970s I began work on a piece of research which was to become a PhD thesis. Its central theme was the way in which redefinitions of educational practice might play a part in the reconstruction and development of society in general. I took as a case study the influential policy statement of President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania on the interrelationship between work and education. By redefining the priorities and processes of educational institutions, he hoped to create a better match with what he understood to be the realities of life and work in a developing country. He wanted education to be a driving force for a change in culture, which, at the time of the publication of the policy of ‘Education for Self-reliance’ in 1967, valued education mainly as a means of upward social mobility for a small minority of successful school graduates with little other consideration. In other words, the ‘exchange’ value of education was paramount with virtually no attention to its potential ‘use’ for the common good or national development. This research generated some persistent interests in the way education connects with the workplace and it is these interests that will shape the issues I want to address here. I shall take the postwar period as the canvas, but mainly the last two decades, with the main focus on the UK experience. However, reference will be made to the international case for comparative purposes and I shall conclude with some speculations and prescriptions for the future.
The first part of this chapter will address how the connections between education and work have been conventionally understood or theorised. The intention of this overview is to give an introduction to four significant underlying or tacit theoretical assumptions which
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Publication information: Book title: Routledge International Companion to Education. Contributors: Bob Moon - Editor, Miriam Ben-Peretz - Editor, Sally Brown - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 683.
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