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Education as a Lifelong Process – Comparing Educational Trajectories in Modern Societies

GoTriple's project summary

Over the last decades, modern societies have evolved into knowledge-based economies in which the role of education and the organisation of educational institutions have become important in all phases of the life course. More than in the past, today, education is a lifelong process where the individual acquires skills and competences in formal and non-formal learning settings throughout the entire life-span. Most empirical research on education is still based on cross-sectional studies and does not analyse education as a highly time-dependent, stepwise, and cumulative process. The aim of the project is therefore to study how individuals’ educational careers and competence trajectories unfold over the life course in relation to family background, educational institutions, workplaces, and private life events. The project takes an explicit life course perspective and utilises innovative data from the new German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). The NEPS data will be compared with longitudinal data from five carefully selected additional countries. Based on its cross-national comparisons the project will do both, (a) establish the generality of findings and (b) study the specific impact of variations in educational institutional settings across countries.In substantive terms, the project is structured along four themes: (1) the quality of pre-school education and its short- and longer-term effects on individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds; (2) consequences of different models of differentiation in secondary school and their consequences on competence development and educational opportunities; (3) different vocational training trajectories and their impact on entry into the labour market; and (4) the interaction of lifelong learning and job careers.

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