Education and Training in Europe

Education and Training in Europe

Education and Training in Europe

Education and Training in Europe

Synopsis

While Europe is certainly one of the richest and most educated areas of the world, some of the challenges faced by the old continent are staggering: low economic growth, structural difficulties in the labour market, and increasing international competition. Politicians and policymakers may advocate different means of overcoming the potential economic decline of Europe, but most agree that Europe needs to strengthen human capital, its ultimate competitive advantage in the world economy.

This book looks at the accumulation of human capital from two perspectives, first through formal education and then professional training. It provides a useful summary of the key characteristics of education and training in Europe and also asks key questions about the fundamental problems with the current educational and training systems. More importantly, the book goes on to discuss which policies are necessary to make existing education and training systems more efficient, while also making higher skills available to a wider range of people.

Excerpt

While Europe is certainly one of the richest and most educated areas of the world, some of the challenges faced by the 'old' continent are staggering: low economic growth, structural difficulties in the labour market, and suffer international competition. Discussions about a European decline are now taken seriously by politicians and policymakers. Academic scholars, international organizations and media analysts constantly underline the urgency for reform in Europe. Some stress the need for Europe to fully embrace competition and market discipline in labour, goods, and financial markets. Others argue that Europe needs to shrink and redesign its social model and its welfare state. Despite these subtle differences, everyone agrees that to overcome the risk of decline, Europe needs foremost to strengthen human capital, its ultimate comparative advantage in the world economy.

The accumulation of human capital takes place either before entering the labour market—through formal education, or during market participation—through professional training. the returns on the investment, conversely, always take place inside the labour market and critically depend on the functioning of such markets. in light of the structural difficulties in European labour markets, there are important and complex interactions between formal education, professional training, high unemployment, low market mobility, inefficient wage setting and poorly designed institutions. These interactions are key to this book. Specifically, the aim of the book is threefold. First, it takes stock of the core facts and characteristics of education and training in Europe, extending much beyond the conventional and simple analytical description of a statistical report. Secondly, and most importantly, it asks crucial questions about the fundamental problems of education in Europe. Thirdly, it discusses which policies are necessary to make the existing educational systems more efficient, and high skills more accessible to a wider range of people.

The key questions addressed in the book are easily identifiable. in the new globalized world, should Europe drastically shift resources from secondary toward tertiary education? What drives over-education, or the . . .

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