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Some sociologists even speak of an 'educational revolution'

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Introduction

��ࡱ�>�� =?����<�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������5@ ��0z:bjbj�2�2 (F�X�X�/�������������������8� ��_v�������$�R'����������������� ������X��/0_�' r:' �������' �� ��Some sociologists even speak of an 'educational revolution'. Driven by a combination of increasing demand for a highly skilled and professional workforce and a growing supply of educational institutions, teachers, etc., educational participation and educational attainment grew spectacularly from one generation to another. Secondary school education quickly became the minimal standard of qualification for almost all youngsters. And from the seventies on higher education participation started to increase as well. This process hasn't reached its limits yet. Many governments have formulated ambitious targets for higher education participation and attainment rates, and if we want to achieve the Lisbon agenda and the European knowledge society even more ambitious targets should be set. The 'educational revolution' was linked to a change in the ways social mobility was realised. Merit now was the key to social advancement, and not family, social background, money or social capital. At least, that was the ideological message, but there certainly was a lot of truth in it. Over the generations young people equipped with degrees acquired social positions (and incomes) their parents only could dream of. Higher education became the most important channel through which social mobility could be realised. ...read more.

Middle

I believe modern European societies have enough selfish reasons to mobilise again for social equity in education. When looking to the future of the labour market and the demographic changes ahead we will need all talents available in our children and young people. We cannot take the risk to waste talents. We will need well-trained, highly-skilled labour with very high productivity rates in order to keep our labour market functioning, to pay for our elderly population and to guarantee the economic basis of our welfare state. This is not only a purely economic reasoning. Children from immigrant backgrounds do not have the same opportunities to succeed in education. This is not only a waste of talent, but also a political risk. This problem is particularly important in Belgium and is therefore one of my main concerns as minister of education. One of the most worrisome results in the PISA survey for my country is the enormous difference in educational achievement between children speaking a national language at home and children speaking another language at home. Of course, the problem originates in the primary and secondary school. Not many children from immigrant background come into our universities yet. But those who arrive in universities have little chance to succeed. ...read more.

Conclusion

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