Education and work in Scotland: global knowledge economy, enterprise culture and entrepreneurship.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis has grown out of interest in and observation of dilemmas for practice and attitudes to enterprise education in primary and secondary schools in Scotland. There seem to be mixed views on the purpose of enterprise education and its justification to be part of the curriculum, its relationship to other means of addressing work-related purposes of education and shifting policy interpretations that propose to link enterprise education with entrepreneurship education. This latter consideration has been highlighted more recently with the provision of financial support for enterprise education from successful and influential Scottish entrepreneurs. These circumstances are examined in the later parts of the thesis and are preceded by an analysis of the wider context and variety of connections and interrelationships between work and education. Historical, social, political, economic and cultural connections emerge as necessary disciplines for understanding work, how our concept of work has developed and how it has been related to education along the way. Historical analysis is needed in order to analyse and forecast how education and work relationships are developing today and so a history of work and its relationship with education in industrial and post-industrial economies is provided as well as consideration of developments in the traditional but more narrowly defined area of vocational education. More recent developments in global interconnectedness, communications technology and the emergence of knowledge as the major requirement of our 21st Century lives have altered the balance in the education and work relationship making education the more proactive agent in the pair.
Educational policy and practice have in the past been shaped by political and economic changes in society but contemporary attitudes to the importance of knowledge, its application and its transfer, in stimulating economic growth have made learning a sought after ‘commodity’ and education, although slow to make major changes to school practice, is now in a position to shape the nature and practice of work and workplaces. It emerges in the thesis that although education has been and is influenced by political, social and economic requirements, policy makers arguably have not paid much attention to the social sciences or to philosophical considerations when considering curriculum development. Likewise social science and philosophical enclaves have not shown much interest in educational theory and practice. Only recently have education faculties been established in many UK universities and begun to develop research cultures that in other disciplines already have long traditions and prestige.
The chapters of the thesis bring together a broad and original compilation of areas of study that provide a scenario of connections that have the potential to inform, motivate and increase the understanding of educators and the makers of education policy when addressing the work-related aims of education. The final chapter sums up the scope of the variety of influences on the relationship between education and work and proposes that, although they provide very necessary bases for understanding, they have over time diminished what the thesis claims to be a necessary element in all education and educational policy deliberations, including those on education for work: that of value-based considerations for the development of the human person.
Suggested ways forward for schools and course design, teacher education and education policy making are provided in the light of the deliberations of the thesis.
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