This text is drawn from www.goete.eu/glossary
The concept of educational trajectories results form a life course perspective towards education. By educational trajectories we refer to a set of transitions between educational levels and institutions, leading to varying levels of educational capital. These transitions are affected by both structure and agency, that is individual choices, structures of social inequality and institutional arrangements providing access to education throughout life course. Educational trajectories may in certain conditions lead to social mobility, but generally social structures affect both individual choices and capabilities in such a way that the status quo tends to be preserved. According to comparative analysis, different transition regimes imply different constellations of educational trajectories which is also due to different relationships between education and welfare in shaping individual life courses.
A life course perspective towards education becomes especially relevant under conditions of knowledge societies with their demand of lifelong learning.
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(Mikko Aro & Andreas Walther)