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Educational Outcomes for the Canadian Workplace

Educational Outcomes for the Canadian Workplace: New Frameworks for Policy and Research

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    Educational Outcomes for the Canadian Workplace
    Book Description:

    Like other nations around the world, Canada is struggling to position itself in a global, knowledge-based economy. But although the links between education and the economy have been recognized at both federal and provincial levels of government in Canada, their relationship has not been fully understood.

    Educational Outcomes for the Canadian Workplaceexplores how educational programs are changing, which skills matter in the economy, and how policy has responded to the educational and economic pressures of the 1990s. In this volume, Jane Gaskell and Kjell Rubenson have brought together a distinguished group of scholars from economics, commerce, sociology of education, adult education, and educational administration to discuss a broad range of issues related to education and the economy in Canada. The implications of their discussions are far-reaching: educational policy not only affects the development of skills and knowledge for a competitive labour market, but also has an impact on social equality, economic growth, and civic engagement. Presenting in-depth research and analysis, this volume makes a significant contribution to Canadian and international debate on the meaning of the new global economy for educational policy and practice.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7429-5
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. Introduction: Towards a Research Program in Education and Training
    (pp. 3-18)

    Recognizing the necessity of more interaction among disciplines and researchers in the area of education and training, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) issued a call for proposals in October 1995, to establish five-year strategic research networks linking researchers and research partners involved in policy and practice. A network dubbed WRNET (the Western Research Network on Education and Training) was assembled at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to respond to this call.

    This book arose out of WRNETʹs research to inform the Canadian debate about education and training, and their relationship to work in the...

  4. Part 1: What Skills Matter in the Economy?: Economic Approaches

    • [PART 1 Introduction]
      (pp. 19-20)

      The two chapters in this section speak to questions asked by laypeople, educators, and politicians alike. What kind of education and skills are needed in the new economy? How can we produce them in Canada? Both chapters are written by economists, and both mount arguments that depend on the analysis of large data sets. They make factual claims about what has been happening to education and the economy over time, and they mount arguments about what this means for our social investment in education.

      Craig Riddell summarizes the research on the relationship between education and the labour market in Canada....

    • 1 Education, Skills, and Labour Market Outcomes: Exploring the Linkages in Canada
      (pp. 21-55)

      The purpose of this chapter is to assess recent evidence concerning the relationship between the resources devoted to education and skill formation in Canada, and the labour market consequences of those expenditures. The widespread tendency to associate advances in technology and other sources of economic change with the need for greater emphasis on student achievement presumes that there are clear linkages between what students learn in school and their subsequent economic success. This chapter will examine recent research on the nature of these linkages, and will assess the implications of this research for education policy.

      The first section compares Canadian...

    • 2 Education and Technological Revolutions: The Role of the Social Sciences and the Humanities in the Knowledge-Based Economy
      (pp. 56-86)

      The modern economy is characterized by a high rate of technological progress involving new ʹhigh-techʹ products. This phase of history began in the late nineteenth century with the invention of chemical dyes, the first pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment, the internal combustion engine, and the telephone. Research-oriented universities and the industrial research laboratory date back to this period. The twentieth century saw many new high-tech products ranging from the automobile to the airplane to modern electronics and chemicals. In recent decades, the computer and other information technologies have revolutionized the economy and are continuing to do so. We may be witnessing the...

  5. Part 2: Achieving Equity:: Three Analyses of Outcomes

    • [PART 2 Introduction]
      (pp. 87-88)

      The goal of a good deal of educational and economic policy has been the countryʹs aggregate growth and development. But equity, and the social cohesion associated with it, is equally important as a social goal and as an outcome of education and training policy. Equal educational opportunity is a core value in educational institutions, and the impact of human capital development on equality has been a key part of policy discussion in liberal democratic societies like Canada. The easy assumption that more meritocracy and increased access to educational opportunities will bring about more social equality has been challenged theoretically, and...

    • 3 What Are Canadians Doing after School? An Analysis of Post-school Training Activity
      (pp. 89-117)

      There is much evidence that those who receive post-school training (PST) do better in the labour market in terms of increased earnings and reduced unemployment. (See, for example, the chapters by Allen and Riddell in this volume.) If PST has such a beneficial effect for individuals, what factors determine which individuals receive it, and which do not?

      The motivation to seek training involves both economic and noneconomic factors. Some individuals participate in training to gain promotion, higher pay, or perhaps because of a job/career change due to lay-off or termination. Others might obtain training due to family circumstances such as...

    • 4 The Post-secondary Education of Disadvantaged Adults
      (pp. 118-137)

      The importance of education to individual and societal success is now an article of faith in public policy. Across the world, average levels of education have been rising, and higher levels of education are related to better individual outcomes in such varied areas as employment, earnings, further learning, health, and longevity. Issues of inequality, however, remain important. In almost every society, some individuals and groups get more education than others, and some benefit more from education than do others. Socio-economic status, place of residence, ethnicity, and disability are among the factors that systematically influence life outcomes. Yet while the importance...

    • 5 What Outcomes Matter to You? Exploring Welfare Policy and Programs from the Perspective of Low-Income Women
      (pp. 138-156)

      Over the past decade, social welfare policy reform in Canada has focused on two goals: expenditure reduction and moving welfare recipients into the paid workforce. Cost cutting measures have been introduced, as well as measures to assist welfare recipients to enter the paid workforce.¹ This chapter looks at the outcomes of such reforms for low-income single mothers. For this group, the relationship between access to post-secondary education and the acquisition of formal and recognized educational credentials, and the ability to find and keep jobs that pay a living wage and that provide opportunities for work advancement, has been well documented.²...

  6. Part 3: Policy and Practice:: Case Studies Linking Education and Work

    • [PART 3 Introduction]
      (pp. 157-158)

      This section examines some specific examples of educational policy and practice that attempt to link education more closely to work. The section includes an analysis of the Skills Now! policy in British Columbia, and two case studies of educational programs designed to connect academic education more tightly to the workplace. All three studies use qualitative methods – interviews, document analysis, and observations – to examine the social processes that lie behind ʹoutcomes.ʹ All are interested in education as a complex political project, where conflicting goals and interests intersect and economic pressures work indirectly through the key stakeholders in educational institutions:...

    • 6 Policy, Rhetoric, and Educational Outcomes: Interpreting Skills Now!
      (pp. 159-185)

      In 1992 and 1993, Premier Mike Harcourt of British Columbia orchestrated two large premierʹs summits, drawing together representatives from the realms of business, education, labour, and government. The purpose was to discuss action to take in light of the apparent rapid and significant shift in the economic terrain, and the simultaneous decline of the provinceʹs resource industries. Subsequently, the government developed an educational policy entitled Skills Now! Steeped in language of urgency and impending crisis, the new policy called on the provincial system of education to prepare students and retrain the workforce for a technologically oriented, information-based global economy.


    • 7 Working Outcomes in the Classroom: A Case Study of Applied Academics in British Columbia
      (pp. 186-203)

      At the beginning of the 1990s, a variety of commissions and employer groups claimed that schools were not preparing students appropriately for the changing technological requirements and increased worker responsibilities that were the product of industrial restructuring in a global, decentralized, knowledge-based economy (e.g., for example, Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce [CSAW] 1990; Conference Board of Canada 1992; Economic Council of Canada 1992; Secretaryʹs Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills [SCANS] 1991). The low status and low skill levels that were the product of most vocational education programs were compared unfavourably to the German and Scandinavian systems of...

    • 8 Co-op Education: Tensions and Outcomes of Experiential Learning
      (pp. 204-219)

      The combined forces of globalization and technological innovation are rapidly changing the nature of the labour market and profoundly affecting who has access to employment and how work is carried out. The implementation of advanced technologies in the workplace, restructured management processes, and increased global competition fuel debates about the skills that are needed to meet the spiralling demands of a knowledge-intensive economy. These debates concern relevancy - whether our universities equip graduates with knowledge and skills relevant to labour markets in a knowledge-intensive economy.

      Businesses and workers in industrialized countries are today confronting a dynamic set of forces that...

  7. Conclusion: Learning from Research Networks: The Western Research Network on Education and Training, 1996–2001
    (pp. 220-236)

    No single piece of research and no single disciplinary framework is powerful enough to communicate new understandings of the links between the economy and the educational system in a way that will impact future research, policy, and practice. Individual researchers produce important findings; disciplines produce systematic and powerful ways of understanding the social processes at work; policy-makers communicate some of these findings and understandings widely. But only in the interaction among researchers and policy-makers with different perspectives can new shared and well-founded understanding be developed. And only shared understanding will provide the cumulative knowledge base for moving research and policy...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 237-240)