Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Research - When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Educated: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Research - When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Educated: News

Article excerpt

Economic crisis leads to rising participation, OECD report finds.

When economic times get tough, it seems that young people turn to education: the number of teenagers in school and college in some of the world's richest countries increased after the economic crisis in 2008, figures have revealed.

According to data published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 86 per cent of 15- to 19-year-olds across 40 countries were in education in 2011, up 2 percentage points on 2008. The Education at a Glance report suggests that one of the reasons is that access to secondary schools for 11- to 18-year-olds has expanded in recent years.

But Alan Tuckett, president of the International Council for Adult Education, said the figures also showed that many teenagers were taking the "perfectly intelligent position" to gain new skills in order to boost their job prospects.

"While the status of student is not as attractive as that of worker or employee to many teenagers, it is much more attractive than the status of unemployed," he said.

"There are two groups of people: those who would much rather be in a job but think they had better go to college, and for whom the accumulation of qualifications may be a necessary evil until a job does come along; and those who realise the labour market is changing. Low-skilled jobs are disappearing and it's better to get qualified."

The report notes that the transition from education to work is typically smoother in countries with work-study programmes for students from the age of 14 and post-16.

However, when the labour market deteriorates, young people moving from school to work are often the first to encounter difficulties because employers tend to prefer more experienced workers for the few jobs on offer, the report adds.

Employment rates among 15- to 19-year-olds vary markedly between countries. …

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