Education plays an important role in any modern economy, from two points of view. (a) its general effect on economic and social life, and (b) its ‘streaming’ effect in training different categories of young people for various rungs on the economic and social ladder. It is fairly clear that when a large proportion of the population are educated — in the perhaps somewhat old-fashioned sense of being able to think and express views rationally, possessing a wide knowledge and the ability to acquire new knowledge — that population will be better able to cope with economic, social and political problems than one that is not so educated. However, the primarily quantitative approach to education which has become fashionable in the postwar era can produce unexpected social results. The intolerant and inarticulate undergraduate, capable only of shouting down those with whom he disagrees, was presumably not quite what the exponents of the expansion of higher education had in mind. There is now a tendency to question the type of ‘economics of education’, fashionable in the early 1960s, which assumed that public expenditure producing x per cent increase in university places, would lead to y per cent growth in national income, with — implicitly — only beneficial social effects.
KeywordsFederal Republic Civil Service Social Economy Academic Freedom German System
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