IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Skills for the 21st Century: Implications for Education

  • Allen Jim
  • Velden Rolf van der


The world is changing rapidly in a lot of ways, but the dominant change is in ICT. Changingtechnology has far-reaching implications for how we act and interact at work, in education, incivic life and at home. Furthermore, this change is in large part the driving force behind many ofthe other major changes, such as globalization and flexibilization. These changes have led manyscholars to point to a new set of skills – the so-called 21st century skills – that are thought tobe essential for people’s ability to function and participate fully in today’s world. While we donot dispute the importance of these 21st century skills, we do caution against blindly pursuingthese skills and neglecting other more traditional classes of skill, such as basic skills (readingand math) as well as specialized knowledge and abilities – the so-called specific skills.Educational policy and practice should proceed from the insight that skills of individual humanbeings form a complete interdependent package of all these three kinds of skills: basic skills,specific skills and 21st century skills. It is far more fruitful to view 21st century skills inrelation to the basic skills that underlie them and the specific skills that they combine with inconcrete purposive action. In this essay we present a framework for the evaluation of what we knowabout our current situation in terms of various kinds of skills and learning which alerts us togaps in our knowledge that need to be filled for future policy purposes. It also performs asimilar function when looking at the challenges facing education and what education can do to meetthese challenges.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 044.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2012044
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht

Phone: +31 (0)43 38 83 830
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Didier Fouarge & Trudie Schils & Andries de Grip, 2013. "Why do low-educated workers invest less in further training?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(18), pages 2587-2601, June.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," NBER Working Papers 6357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. William Thorn, 2009. "International Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Surveys in the OECD Region," OECD Education Working Papers 26, OECD Publishing.
  4. Fouarge Didier & Grip Andries de & Nelen Annemarie, 2009. "Leren en werken," ROA Report 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  5. Messer, Dolores & Wolter, Stefan C., 2009. "Money Matters: Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Field Experiment with Vouchers for Adult Training," IZA Discussion Papers 4017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 12840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The Economics of International Differences in Educational Achievement," CESifo Working Paper Series 3037, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Dronkers, Jaap, 2010. "Positieve maar ook negatieve effecten van etnische diversiteit in scholen op onderwijsprestaties? Een empirische toets met internationale PISA-data
    [Positive but also negative effects of ethnic div
    ," MPRA Paper 23824, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Bassanini, Andrea & Booth, Alison L. & Brunello, Giorgio & De Paola, Maria & Leuven, Edwin, 2005. "Workplace Training in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
  11. Alison Booth & Pamela Katic, 2008. "Men at Work in a Land Down-under," CEPR Discussion Papers 586, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  12. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  13. Booth, Alison L, 1991. "Job-Related Formal Training: Who Receives It and What Is It Worth?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(3), pages 281-94, August.
  14. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1999. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F112-42, February.
  15. Bert Minne & Marieke Rensman & Björn Vroomen & Dinand Webbink, 2007. "‘Excellentie voor Productiviteit?’," CPB Special Publication 69, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  16. Giuseppe Croce & Massimiliano Tancioni, 2007. "Disentangling factors behind training partecipation in Italy," Working Papers 101, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
  17. Arulampalam, Wiji & Booth, Alison L. & Bryan, Mark L., 2003. "Training in Europe," ISER Working Paper Series 2003-23, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  18. Andries GRIP & Jasper LOO & Jos SANDERS, 2004. "The Industry Employability Index: Taking account of supply and demand characteristics," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 143(3), pages 211-233, 09.
  19. Katz, Eliakim & Ziderman, Adrian, 1990. "Investment in General Training: The Role of Information and Labour Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1147-58, December.
  20. Ingo Geishecker, 2006. "Does Outsourcing to Central and Eastern Europe Really Threaten Manual Workers' Jobs in Germany?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(5), pages 559-583, 05.
  21. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2000. "Reciprocity and wage undercutting," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5905, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  22. Mark A. Loewenstein & James R. Spletzer, 1997. "Delayed Formal on-the-job Training," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(1), pages 82-99, October.
  23. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Chris van Klaveren, 2005. "Worker Reciprocity and Employer Investment in Training," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(285), pages 137-149, 02.
  24. Coenen Johan & Ramaekers Ger & Velden Rolf van der, 2012. "De waarde van MBO-4 opleidingen op de arbeidsmarkt," ROA Report 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  25. Vanessa Strauss-Kahn, 2003. "The Role of Globalization in the Within-Industry Shift Away from Unskilled Workers in France," NBER Working Papers 9716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Fouarge Didier & Grip Andries de, 2011. "Depreciatie van menselijk kapitaal," ROA Report 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  27. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
  28. Wim Groot & Henriette Maassen Vann De Brink, 2000. "Education, training and employability," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(5), pages 573-581.
  29. Harley Frazis & Maury Gittleman & Mary Joyce, 2000. "Correlates of Training: An Analysis Using Both Employer and Employee Characteristics," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(3), pages 443-462, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2012044. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Leonne Portz)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.