PICK UP THE PACE: THE SLOWDOWN IN EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT AND ITS WIDESPREAD EFFECTS

PICK UP THE PACE: THE SLOWDOWN IN EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT AND ITS WIDESPREAD EFFECTS
March 19, 2019 dmh

 

The Resolution Foundation released a new report on 19th March 2019 by Kathleen Henlan.

https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2019/03/Pick-up-the-pace.pdf

This paper uses the Brexit moment to take stock of where Britain has got to on educational attainment, and where we might be heading. It highlights that while improvements to the country’s human capital stock have been driven by increasingly educated cohorts of young people flowing into the labour market, the pace of growth in young people’s educational attainment has more than halved since the start of the 21st century. This ‘slowdown’ is worrying because the qualifications held by young people flowing into the labour market play the predominant role in raising the country’s overall stock of human capital, a major driver of progress on productivity and living standards.

“The UK’s exit from the European Union has ignited a debate on its skills opportunities and challenges, making now a good time to take stock.

As Britain’s exit from the European Union nears, questions about the country’s access to skills have come to the fore. Some have argued that ‘turning off the tap’ of migrant labour will bring with it challenges, by denying businesses access to the skilled labour they need, with potentially destabilising economic effects. Others maintain that reduced levels of migration as a result of Brexit offer opportunities: they could compel educators and employers to focus on upskilling UK-based workers – particularly younger cohorts – much more than they have in the recent past.”

This paper uses the Brexit moment to take stock of where Britain has got to on educational attainment, and where we might be heading. In particular it highlights that while improvements to the country’s human capital stock have been driven by increasingly educated cohorts of young people flowing into the labour market, the pace of growth in young people’s educational attainment has more than halved since the start of the 21st century. This slowdown is in equal parts worrying and frustrating. Worrying – because the qualifications held by young people flowing into the labour market play the predominant role in raising the country’s overall stock of human capital, a major driver of progress on productivity and living standards. Frustrating
– because young people are those within closest reach of policy. For these reasons, they form a central focus of this report.

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