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Reference: Jean-Luc Demeulemeester and Denis Rochat, (2001). The European policy regarding education and training: a critical assessment.Citable link to this page:


The European policy regarding education and training: a critical assessment Subtitle: SKOPE Research Paper No. 21, Autumn 2001Series: SKOPE Research Papers

Abstract: In this paper we outline the (stated) philosophy governing the EU policy proposals regarding Education and Training (ET) systems. We review the various criticism that are addressed by the experts to ET systems as they are currently organised: in an age where knowledge and skills are of primary importance to maintain both individual and national competitiveness, ET systems ignore the requirements of competitiveness, partly because they are too heavily institutionalized (making therefore individuals less responsible), because they rely too much on formal accreditations and develop an elitist structure that drives the entire system away from market needs. The EU experts tend therefore to promote a new system more responsive to market needs, inter alia through the diffusion of information and transparency, the recognition of informal ways of learning, and a curricular content stressing much more methods (problem-solving abilities, information processing abilities

.) than contents. The widespread use of ICT systematic evaluation and decentralization, while States, firms and individuals should increase their investment in human resources and capital. The lato sensu vocationalisation of ET systems would help in promoting social cohesion and a new sense of active citizenship. We review a series of criticism that could be levelled against such a policy agenda, which exaggerates the responsibility of the supply-side (the reform of ET systems would alone solve all of the problems) while downplaying the crucial importance of the demand side (the firms using the products of ET systems), and which probably overstates the benefits of a narrowly vocational ET system. The ideological preconceptions of the experts led them to exaggerate the ability of individuals to build their own curricula, and to neglect the role of teachers in education. Last but not least, they ignore the dangers linked with the introduction of short-termism and commercial concerns in a world which was initially devised to prepare for the long run adaptiveness of society and individuals, not solely from an economic point of view, but also social, moral and political.

Publication status:PublishedPeer Review status:Peer reviewedVersion:Publisher's version

Bibliographic Details

Issue Date: 2001

Copyright Date: 2001 Identifiers

Issn: 1466-1535

Urn: uuid:fa24fc0b-47eb-4106-a0d5-b9d89d819204 Item Description

Type: Research paper;

Language: en

Version: Publisher's versionKeywords: Education and Training Systems EU policySubjects: Education Tiny URL: ora:3896


Author: Jean-Luc Demeulemeester - institutionUBL, Brussels - - - Denis Rochat - institutionUniversit - - - - Bibliographic Details Issue



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