Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education

Patrick Ainley


The article outlines the main points in my new book with Martin Allen. Published by Continuum in April 2010, it questions whether young people today really are a lost generation as they have been called by the media. Or whether new strategies for youth and education can bring together student and non-student youth in new forms of learning with their teachers through which the latter could recover their expertise if not their professionalism. This question is critical to the future of Education Studies to which our book sees itself as a contribution. It is addressed to teachers and students alike and builds upon our previous publication Education make you fick, innit? (Tufnell Press 2008). This was developed from an Education Studies core course in education policy. Now we suggest that, rather than being lost, many young people know perfectly well where they are but are stuck. Anxious to enter employment, repay debts and move on with their lives, they are a generation all dressed up but with nowhere to go. Inevitably, amongst the immediate consequences of this will be even more pressure for top grades in examinations to gain HE places with higher fees combined with pressure for shorter, local and more vocational courses. Concomitantly, many young people may begin to believe that education is losing its legitimacy as an agent for moving their lives forward into a meaningful and productive adult world. Hopefully the article can contribute to debate in Educationalfutures on how best to confront this development.

Ainley, P. (2011) Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 3(1). Available at: https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=526 [Accessed 15 Apr, 2024].