Which Citizen for Which Europe? Balancing the Economic and Socio-Cultural Objectives of Education and Training

Catherine Casey, Kathleen Lynch, Ides Nicaise
NESSE Seminar 13, 2008

This seminar left little doubt that the model of the citizen that informs our educational thinking is crucial. Also, that striking a better balance between the economic and the socio-cultural goals of learning is necessary in Europe and world-wide. Education curricula and assessment world-wide have been driven by a narrow set of employment objectives under the influence of human capital theory. But education is more than preparing individuals for the labour market. Education and training are not just about jobs, competitiveness and growth. They are also about cultural development, personal fulfilment, social inclusion, better health, and environmental responsibility. They can turn people into active citizens and give them happier, more fulfilling lives. They can and do improve democracy, tolerance and respect of diversity. They promote intercultural understanding, care and solidarity, equality and social cohesion.

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