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ERIC Number: EJ868689
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
Rising Educational Expectations: Trends and Limits in Times of Economic Downturn
Hart, Doug; Livingstone, D. W.
Education Canada, v49 n3 p4-7 Sum 2009
Advocates for education have seized upon the current economic downturn as an opportunity to advance their cause. If governments are poised for an attempt to spend their way out of a deep recession, what better target than underfunded educational institutions, from daycare to universities? Public support for increased spending on education is well-documented. Canadians have made very substantial investments in education in recent decades, both through their governments and individually. Finally, the importance of a highly educated workforce for sustained growth is widely acknowledged. This article discusses two major obstacles in advocating greater investment in education. First, public support for educational investment is largely ineffective in the absence of consensus on priorities. Second, the major problems in the economy are not educational deficiencies. Lack of consensus on priorities has at least three dimensions: (1) failure to clearly prioritize within the educational sphere itself; (2) failure to prioritize among public services; and (3) failure to decisively prioritize public over private investment. The author contends that to regard educational investment as a significant route to economic growth and reduced inequalities is to remain trapped within the mainstream thinking of the past generation, particularly in light of the increasing unemployment and underemployment of highly formally educated people. The concept of the knowledge-based economy is largely irrelevant to the debates about the sources of economic instability and, hence, irrelevant to the institutional changes needed to produce a more sustainable economy. Economic problems need economic reforms, most notably the imperative of utilizing existing human knowledge in more effectively designed and sustainable workplaces. People should support educational investment for the things that it can do, but recognize clearly what it cannot do. Education is always inherently valuable. But the best popular medicine for coping with these times of economic disruption may be appreciation of the limits of formal education per se to resolve economic problems and meet rising public expectations about the need to address economic and ecological problems directly. (Contains 16 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada