In recent decades, public policies have shown, in general, to be deficient in terms of a comprehensive and sustained strategy of support for young sectors to overcome educational and occupational problems.
There were few government efforts aimed at improving the conditions for the inclusion of young people. In effect, measures to promote employment were introduced, educational reforms were carried out that expanded compulsory education to the full secondary level, and training programs for young people excluded from employment and school scholarships for poor families were carried out.
However, this set of labor reforms, new educational careers and intensive training and assisted employment plans does not seem to have sufficed.
In this framework, it is necessary to risk a set of criteria that seems necessary to follow if we want to give an effective response to the problem of youth inclusion in Argentina today.
In the first place, it is necessary to insist that the labor inclusion problems of young people not only require a general context of economic growth to be successfully confronted. Without growth, genuine employment is not generated, but by simply growing, genuine employment for all is not guaranteed. Without employment for all, young people will have few available opportunities and will be subject to high unemployment and to occupying unattractive, low-paid jobs with little prospects for progress.
Secondly, the education system has a central and non-delegable role in the process of acquisition by young people of the skills and attitudes necessary for a dynamic insertion in the labor market. In modern markets a change is taking place that requires an increasingly advanced preparation to qualify for the jobs that emerge.
This reinforces the need to improve the quality of education that, without a doubt, is an obligatory challenge; particularly urgent for young people who come from poor households who must overcome inequality in access to opportunities.
In the same sense, it is necessary to promote the inclusion in the formal education system from an early age at a mandatory initial level of quality that allows to reinforce more early the resources of the home in its interaction with the school; and school retention strategies for children and young people, particularly those from lower income sectors.
To promote strategies that recover the social heterogeneity of the school space, without ruling out the creation of alternative social spaces to the school of formation and socialization in which diversity is encouraged in the children and adolescents who participate, but also in the adult human resources educators or counselors .
Third, it seems necessary to be able to define a set of policies aimed at providing young people with vocational training and support mechanisms and guidance for job search.
In this line, vocational training systems must participate in these policies by proposing flexible training paths that are strongly determined by market signals and sectoral detection of occupational demands, while guaranteeing the quality and official recognition of content and pedagogical practices.
In this regard, it should be noted that the traditional training model (with a predominant emphasis on supply, based on formal courses aimed at a demand for specialization supposedly existing in the labor market, with a public institutional base and centralized management), has demonstrated be an insufficient model to address the motivations and training needs of young people.
This model was not designed to attract young people, and even less, those of poor origin; not only by income, but by supposing a level of basic school knowledge not always existing in these groups and by not considering the obstacles that these populations have to participate in a training and formation process (family care responsibilities, domestic responsibilities, lack of access to information, need to be accepted socially, clothing, food, transportation, lack of role models that encourage inclusion, among others).
In this sense, it seems crucial to plan integral policies that resolve the asymmetries in the access of poor youth to full participation in training and employment promotion actions, which reconstruct the meaning of education and work as a source of social mobility. inclusion.
These formulas offer possible answers to the individual problem of exclusion of social and economic benefits of education, but they are not enough to break with the processes of social selection. So we can ask ourselves how to approach the values of equality to achieve, at the same time, a training of the highest possible level for the greatest number of people.
A realistic response to the question is conditioned by the capacity for expansion of the education and employment systems, and by the possibilities of harmonizing the labor requirements with the modalities of professional training. In any case, the subordination of educational practice to the requirements and norms of the productive apparatus introduces a new series of tensions in the system, of which the loss of autonomy of the educational system in determining the content of teaching stands out.
The authors are researchers of the Observatory Program of the Argentine Social Debt (UCA).