chapter  12
Low Attainers in a Global Knowledge Economy
Pages 14

This chapter examines numbers of young people in developed countries who are variously regarded as lower attainers, have learning difficulties and/or special educational needs, and what is happening to them. The past 30 years have seen a widespread acceptance of beliefs that all citizens in nation-states are subject to the forces of globalisation and global economic markets. All national governments now believe that higher levels of educational attainment and skills training are necessary for successful competition in knowledge-driven economies. All young people are urged to invest in their own human capital and constantly learn new skills, competing with each other in stratified education systems and uncertain job markets. In this scenario knowledge becomes a marketable commodity and those demonstrating high levels are prized above manual, craft and physically-skilled workers. The old divisions of those deemed suitable for academic or vocational life courses take on new meanings.