Simmons, Robin (2013) Education, social control and the Great Reversal. Post 16 Educator (72). pp. 16-17. ISSN 0459-2026

The last issue of PSE carried a review by Colin Waugh of Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley’s latest book The Great Reversal: Young People, Education and Employment in a Declining Economy. The first part of Colin’s review enthuses about the way Martin and Patrick explain how the education system – if indeed system is the correct term – is descending into chaos, and how a succession of governments have attempted to use education as a ‘cure’ for various social ills including de-industrialisation, economic decline and youth unemployment. I can only agree with Colin’s endorsement. The Great Reversal provides an incisive and broad-ranging account of social and economic change and de-bunks pervasive notions about education and its role in the so-called knowledge economy, as well as various negative assertions about the causes of youth unemployment. One of the key strengths of the book is, in my opinion, the way in which it illustrates that, rather than the lacking the skills, qualifications and abilities necessary for work, nowadays most young people are in fact overqualified and underemployed.

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