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Second Workshop on Economics of Education. Michael Lechner:

Michael Lechner (Professor of Applied Economics, University of St. Gallen), who has studied the effects of educational policy and vocational training on the job market, concluded that active policies and training programs against unemployment produce negligible results. To counter unemployment, he said, the most effective strategy is a good educational system and a commitment to “teach students to learn to learn.” Lechner was participating in the Second Workshop on Economics of Education organized by the IEB (8-9 September). Lechner claimed that the policy of promoting employment and training programs to combat unemployment has little or no effect, and warned that in some cases it may reduce the efforts made by the unemployed to seek work. Lechner, an internationally recognized labour market analyst and researcher, said that the most effective strategy against unemployment is a good educational system and regretted the fact that countries like Spain, with a high proportion of poorly educated unemployed, will have difficulty in finding solutions in the short term.

Evaluating the different active policies to promote employment and training in countries like Germany and Switzerland, Lechner warned that "young people should learn skills, but also how to update them throughout their lifetimes: they must learn to learn". The public and private sectors, he added, should contribute to the costs of this lifelong training.

Referring to the education cuts caused by the crisis, Lechner warned that reducing investment in human capital is an error, but that this may be the moment to implement reforms and improve the efficiency of the education sector. Lechner, other analysts such as Edwin Leuven and doctors and doctoral students from across Europe examined public policy education in different countries at the Second Workshop on Economics of Education, held on 8-9 September. The workshop presented methodologies for evaluating public policy and empirical studies on the effects of different educational policies (grants, concentration of immigrant students, school performance) in countries as diverse as Norway, the US, the UK, Brazil and Canada.