The Vocational Quest: New Directions in Education and Training

By Malcolm Skilbeck; Helen Connell et al. | Go to book overview

2

EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS FOR WORKING LIFE

The antithesis between a technical and a liberal education is fallacious. There can be no adequate technical education which is not liberal, and no liberal education which is not technical: that is, no education which does not impart both technique and intellectual vision…education should turn out the pupil with something he knows well and something he can do well.

(Whitehead, 1950, p.74)


INTRODUCTION

Principal among the foundations for productive working life in both individual and social terms is a country’s national educational and training system. That system typically embraces large and complex sub-systems for policy-making, financing, resourcing and operating schools, training centres, colleges and higher education institutions in both the public and private sectors. The personnel complements are large and varied; in one way or another, practically the whole of society is involved or connected with some form of institutionalised education.

Our emphasis in this chapter is on those educational experiences, at the level of basic schooling, intended to prepare young people for their initial experience of working life and likely to be effective in doing so. At the same time, we envisage a progressive strengthening of provision for further education and training within the framework of a policy of lifelong learning. Thus we must think of ‘foundations’ in a dual sense: what is a sound basis for initial entry into work and/or continuing formal education; what are the fundamental concepts, forms of knowledge, competences and learning habits that seem best fitted to equip young people for a life that will include education and further training as the norm? For such a life is nothing less than we can contemplate for the future of any society which claims the epithets of modern, effective and democratic.

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