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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This contribution explores the purpose and meaning of education in the youth phase, particularly as framed by the learning continuum of formal, nonformal, and informal education. It takes a global perspective, contrasting the Global North and the Global South, highlighting inequalities in access and participation to secondary schooling, including their gendered dimensions. Education significantly structures the contemporary youth phase in the Global North, where young people face both extension and intensification of learning demands. This is less so in the Global South, which thus curtails the youth phase as transition process and cultural space. In very different ways, both sets of overall circumstances can be understood in terms of youth life as a cultural workplace. However, social and economic inequalities within and between countries and communities heavily circumscribe the human development potential of the youth phase and the role education as a whole can and should play in this process.

Keywords: youth phase, learning continuum, educational inequalities, Global North and South, youth culture, youth transitions

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