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Future of skills in Europe: Convergence or Polarisation?

This Paper examines whether the current trends in the areas of education and skills are pushing the European Union towards convergence or polarisation. It is demonstrated that there is increasing complexity in what a ‘low-skilled’ person is and how well (or poorly) he or she fares in the labour market. The research furthermore stresses the relevance of, on the one hand, early childhood education in such inequality related questions, and on the other hand, the uncontested policy prescription. As the effectiveness of secondary education depends on the respective country and target group, while education systems are extremely difficult to shift even on a long-term basis, a warning to policy-makers is delivered on returns to higher education by field of study.