LECTIO MAGISTRALIS - The societal tasks of schooling: qualification, allocation, and socialization in comparative perspective

10 May 2023
Start time 
2:00 pm
Palazzo di Sociologia - Via Verdi 26, Trento
Aula Kessler
Doctoral School of Social Sciences
Target audience: 
Online – Registration required
Registration email: 
Registration deadline: 
10 May 2023, 12:00
Herman van de Werfhorst - European University Institute


Education has several functions for societal needs: it needs to educate students well in terms of skills and qualifications (the qualification function), it needs to promote a smooth transition from education to the labour market (the allocation function), and it needs to socialize students into society at large, for instance by improving knowledge on and commitment to institutions and politics (the socialization function). Moreover, for all these
functions one can have multiple distributional concerns, in particular efficiency and/or equality. In this lecture, I highlight how educational systems vary significantly between societies, and how features of educational systems are related to realizing the outcomes under consideration. By using comparative and longitudinal data on schooling, labour market, and civic engagement outcomes, I conclude that educational policy makers face trade-offs when they want to optimize the functioning of educational systems. While some policies may be positively associated with certain outcomes, other outcomes may in fact be harmed. One example is the vocational education and training (VET) sector: a strong VET sector improves the school-to-work transition, but it also magnifies inequalities in civic and political engagement between education groups.