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Social justice and lower attainers in a global knowledge economy

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Tomlinson, Sally

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Abstract National governments believe that higher levels of educational attainments and training are necessary for successful competition in knowledge-driven economies and all young people are urged to invest in their own human capital and learn new skills. Moves towards inclusive education have brought into mainstream schools and colleges many who would formerly have been segregated in special schooling or otherwise given minimum education, joining those simply regarded as lower attainers. More research is needed on what is happening to all these young people who do not do well in competitive education systems and uncertain job markets. This article is taken from a study which set out to discuss with school and college principals, local administrators, teachers and others, who they regard as lower attainers, what sort of education and training programmes are offered to the students, and what policies they think are in place to help young people into work or independent living. Discussions were held with respondents in England, Germany, the USA, Finland and Malta. The article takes Rawls' view that social injustice is mainly due to the inequitable distribution of economic and social resources and the State has a responsibility to ensure that all young people can participate in the economy and the society.
Keywords education; level of education attained; social inequality; equal opportunity; training; vocational education; promotion; special education; demand; social justice; globalization; economy
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories; Macroanalysis of the Education System, Economics of Education, Educational Policy; Occupational Research, Occupational Sociology
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 102-112
Journal Social Inclusion, 1 (2013) 2
ISSN 2183-2803
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution