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ANR education and Social Cohesion ( EDESCO)

by Last Update - published on , updated on

The research project Edesco was questioning, in an international comparative perspective, the relationship between education and social cohesion. Social cohesion is a blurred concept. However, it gains more and more importance in the social and political debate. Education and training systems are put in question: what is their contribution to the social cohesion? How the big changes of the past 20 years (expansion of upper secondary and tertiary education) could explain or not the variety of performances when examining the question of social cohesion? The researches have been based on the main international data bases (PISA, OECD, Eurostat, and World Value Survey) and on more qualitative approaches. They have covered most of the OECD countries as well as the EU countries. And, depending of the data, researches have included not only the compulsory school but also the upper secondary, tertiary and further education and training systems.
Results could be organized along various dimensions of the relationship between education and social cohesion:
An enlarged approach of the “Life Long Learning regimes”: deepen analysis of the educational styles, including curriculum analysis and civic education; hypotheses and results about the hybridization of the lifelong learning regimes, from compulsory education to further training.
A critical approach of the social cohesion concept, mainly about the minimalist versus extensive definition of the social cohesion.
Doubts about the direct relationship between Education, Vocational Training and social cohesion: only weak direct effects have been underlined.
However, when introducing the relationship between education and labor markets in the analysis, more influence on the social cohesion can be highlighted: the way by which qualifications are linked or not to the job and social positions, to the inequalities of status and wages, the over qualification...better explain some variables of social cohesion. These results do not fit necessarily with some classical approaches of comparative education. The meritocratic systems do not perform well. And the systems with a strong apprenticeship, usually characterized by the early tracking are able to compensate early inequalities by the quality of the labor market inclusion. The access to further training seems also o play an important role.
Dubet, Duru-Bellat and Vérétoux have published in 2010 (Les Sociétés et leur Ecole, Seuil) a book, synthesis of their main results. Another book will be published in 2012 (Palgrave) with the aim to articulate the contribution of the Edesco team with the work done by the LLAKES team (University of London).

Mail to : philippe.mehaut@univ-amu.fr