Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2008:10: Education and citizenship in the knowledge society - towards the comparative study of national systems of education

Hrvoje Kap
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Hrvoje Kap: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Postal: Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to propose how education systems can be studied in relation to the welfare state and knowledge society in the global age. It begins by discussing the aims of education and relates these to the core values of social citizenship, arguing that access to the provision of education is a fundamental pillar of citizenship with the purpose of extending and enhancing life chances by general principles of social inclusion and equality of opportunity. It further on reviews a large body of comparative research which studies how the design of education institutions in various countries influences one important aspect of these aims, namely school-leavers’ entrance into the labour market. The third and last section investigates the possibilities and difficulties inherent in comparative studies of national systems of education, particularly with regard to questions concerning validity when constructing conceptual models and comparable indicators. The tentative conclusion of the paper is that further comparative endeavours should set out analyzing primarily input- and process-related features of compulsory education, and the dimensions of stratification and standardization of upper secondary education for an assessment of these institutions’ capacity to equip citizens with knowledge and skills for human flourishing.

Keywords: education systems; social citizenship

JEL-codes: I21

39 pages, August 2008

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN: 1652-120X; ISBN: 978-91-85619-32-0

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