Analyzing PIAAC Through the Capability Approach

  • Aurora Lopez-FoguesEmail author
  • Rosario Scandurra
Reference work entry


The purpose of this chapter is to evidence the shortcomings of large-scale assessments and the new shift toward capability-oriented indicators. Focusing on the international data on adult skills (PIAAC) and its impact in forging VET (vocational education and training) policies, we assume that current VET systems are confronted with many challenges that arise from the interaction of two sources. On one hand, VET policy focuses mainly on employability which is insufficient to grasp wider benefits that education entails – as postulated by many educational (i.e., Nussbaum, Creating capabilities: The human development approach. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011; Boni and Walker, Universities and global human development: Theoretical and empirical insights for social change. Routledge, London, 2016) and a considerable smaller education and work scholars (i.e., McGrath and Powell, Int J Educ Dev 50:12–19, 2016; Egdell and McQuaid, Soc Policy Adm 50:1–18, 2016). On the other hand, the underpinnings of the objectives and designs of VET should adapt to the socioeconomic consequences of the Great Recession. The chapter focuses on the PIAAC and most concretely to the Spanish case as an example of how the Great Recession becomes an open license to fast- and short-term strategies that favors employment regardless of its quality and long-term consequences and values education and youth role in society in relation to their contribution to boost the economy. The chapter recognizes the urge for seeking fast solutions that shift the unemployment rates but alerts to the overlooked aspects with some of those measures in relation to VET. In fact, this chapter is a call to policy-makers and academics toward the importance of rethinking education on the basis of new information basis of judgment that are human-centered.


Skills Capability Approach OECD Education PIAAC Spain 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), Universitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lesley Powell
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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