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The correlation between formal education and work has been a focus of mounting public debates over the past decades. The current population are faced with mounting challenges in choosing from various collection of educational efforts endorsed under the pretext of lifelong learning sequentially to keep up with rapidly shifting job markets, the fast pace of technological change and global competiveness. Learners are urged to seek adequate degree (and the right type) of education to meet labour force obligations, educationalists are required to guarantee their academic curriculums are customized to generate workers with the exact skills needed to increase productivity and competitiveness in today's globally competitive economy (Wotherspoon, 2009). In the context of global competition, in which a greater level of general and specialized competence is required, education is viewed as a measure of success for a nation (Glen A a Jones). But there is general consensus that the education system has lost touch with the task of preparing students for a meaningful career. Penchants against career technical education among academia together with increasing demands to teach to standardized tests are obliging schools to prepare students for a future they will never have, rather than providing graduates with the real-world skills (Wotherspoon, 2009). In a study on the relevance of school education to employment in
Wotherspoon and Schissel (2201) observed that there is a mismatch between what traditional school education develops in learners and the needs of the world of work. The research established that most employees criticized the education system for being too academic and lacking in the development of proper work ethic.
This gap between schooling and work is generally explained through the analysis of technological functionalism and human capital theory (Wotherspoon, 2009). The technological functionalism hypothesis assumes that changes in educational demands are connected to changes in skills and expertise, and that formal educations offers the required training for highly specialized jobs (Wotherspoon, 2009). This rational links education as an investment and therefore will provide a greater return for competitive economical growth.
Conversely, the lack of education or an unsuitable career path reduces individual's prospects and weakens economic growth (Livingston, 1999a). In response to the rhetoric of healthy economy, educational institutions are therefore encouraged to overhaul their curriculum to correlate with job expectations and the complex realities evolved in a globalized and technological era (Wotherspoon, 2009). David Livingstone (1999a), through is own inquiries, proposes a scathing critique of the myth in the quest of the perfect type of education for the perfect job professed by the advanced industrial economies. Livingstone argues that we should be more alarmed with the lack of meaningful and rewarding work associated with educational deficiencies but to "job churning" (Livingstone 1999a, p. 223). If we are to recognize the mismatch between education and work, underemployment and wasted talents are an even larger social problem and more of an economical issue than educational deficiencies (Livingstone 1999a). Original empirical evidence reveals that Canadians have accumulated extensive education qualifications and experience which currently exceeds the actual performance requirements of their jobs (Livinstone 1999a) and that women are more apt than men to have an higher education than their profession actually requires (Metcalf, 1992). Our growing preoccupation with the standardized hierarchical "pyramid" endeavours of our educational system is augmented by various learning flurries that form a huge unknown and unrecognized "iceberg" of informal learning (Livingstone 1999a p. 149). Provoked by an absence of adequate jobs, lack of opportunities to apply their formal education and the continuous desire for self-development, individuals engage in more education only to stumble upon the odds that further hindrances will deviate their search for meaningful employment (Livingstone 1999a). But the opinions of wasted talent among a percentage of the labour force has increased in popularity during a time of prevalent unemployment and subjective underemployment and are the end result of people's inability to find work, to get validation for their qualifications and abilities, or to use their skills in their current profession (Livingstone 1999a).
These tensions appraised throughout Livinstone's The Education-Jobs Gap bring a sundry of dissemination for educators. Formal educational credentials will continue to be essential imperatives as long as employers and learners value these requirements as the necessary distinct to social advancement and economic success (Livingstone 1999a). However, these same pressures command incessant job restructuring and workplace practices, creating redundancy in many workers' skills and knowledge (Lawton, 1992a). The promotion by large profit-driven corporations to "commodify", justify and control learning related practices is liable to create a plethora of alternative educational opportunities along with additional propaganda and reorganizing of existing educational programs (Fleissner 2005)
As this education system is restructured in accordance by public and private appeals for practical forms of training linked to the current job demands, however, fiscal and corporate restraints may curb admission to educational services, affecting most critically persons from the least advantaged social groups (Livingstone 1999a).
Taylor and Watt-Malcolm (2008) has provided an illuminating analysis of these shortcomings in the context of fostering useful knowledge and apprenticeship programs, and the impact this has on the rationalization of the workforce learning agenda and the academic/vocational division in schools. The authorsââ‚¬â„¢ inquiries with students and instructors involved in a carpentry program revealed important data concerning the liberal attitudes to workforce development. Interestingly, limits on learning took place in schools somewhat because of the academic/vocational gap in curriculum. In the educational realm, the downfall to deal with consternation rooted in power relations in the workplace restricted studentsââ‚¬â„¢ learning. Similarly, students were forced to make trade-offs in the workplace that limited their learning. The authors disputed that taking steps to attend to these concerns would improve workplace practices and learning environments for apprentices. While policy-makers are inclined to concentrate on formal training, their research recommends a change in workplace practices encouraging an all encompassing learning environment for apprentices. For example, students were often confronted with an option between accepting more secure work in a specific area of the trade and obtaining work with established entrepreneurs who stipulated a higher return on their training investment (Taylor & Watt-Malcolm 2008). In the latter case, the difference between employee skill development and exploitation was not always apparent. With regards to acquisition of skills and overall quality of an apprenticeship program, employers should assume bigger accountability by providing mentorship opportunities.
In order to create a highly educated and flexible labour force for increasingly demanding workplaces greater contingencies could be afforded to students and educators to survey workplace challenges (Taylor & Watt-Malcolm 2008). However, such suggestions are also problematic. The apprenticeship system is not ready to change. It is intensely entrenched in a mind-set, in its customs, traditions and institutional framework (Schuetze, 2003).
From their inception, the educational system in Canada has been created by differing and often conflicting principles. Factors like conformity, competition, advancement of knowledge, and economic development are meant to coexist with to democratic values, diversity, individuality, inclusiveness, modification, and personal growth.
Canadian educational advances have been differentiated by growing acknowledgment that uniformity in mass public training bestowed by repeated challenges to amalgamate diverse and changing groups of learners and social development. Broader debates in diverse national perspective have framed public concern around issues of how schools do or should contribute to the economic arena and to the development of human capital. Of relative importance is how well schools achieve their role as a comprehensive training system to provide to all learners equitable access for social, economic, and political participation (Carnoy & Levin, 1985).
Education is a dynamic process involving individuals, groups, and society in which they live. It is a process which is shaped by the past, and at the same time, one which must be refined continuously to meet challenges which cannot be avoided in the future. Much has been accomplished in recent years toward the provision equitable access to all who are qualified and seek further education. With imaginative and sensitive leadership both at the government level and institutional level higher education has the ability to exploit to the fullest the talents and potentials. The challenge however must be met without sacrificing those underlying values. In Canada, as in many other countries, there is concern that the existing education systems are not adequately meeting the challenges of the complex modern world.