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La Educación
Número: (123-125) I,III
Año: 1996


As a result of globalization, the relationship between technical education and national labor markets in Latin America is changing. The prevailing wisdom contends that increasing competition among national economies requires a more highly skilled labor force in each country, and that governments are meeting this need by reforming their technical educational systems. This paper challenges these assumptions. First, the author argues that the advancing technology that promotes globalization does not, for the most part, require higher skill levels; on the contrary, it tends to both “deskill” and displace labor. Data from developed countries show that the greatest absolute growth in the labor force has occurred among the lowest skilled occupations. Second, the paper shows that Latin American governments spend less per capita on education than any other region of the world, and that plans for reforming technical education through decentralization do not change this. The author concludes that the proposed reforms for technical education are controversial and reflect only one practical aspect of a much broader socioeconomic issue that deserves serious scrutiny.