The role of education institutions is to convey not only knowledge, skills, and competencies to young people but also attitudes, values, and norms. At the same time, these institutions assess the performance of their students and document it in the form of grades and certificates. Access to specific education courses such as admission to a Gymnasium (grammar school) or a university course may well depend on these assessments, and they are very important for job placement in broad sectors of the labor market. This is the way in which schools and training institutes contribute to structuring the opportunities open to individuals throughout their later lives.
In modern information and service economies, learning does not come to an end after leaving the general and vocational education system. Members of these societies are obliged to continuously acquire new knowledge and new competencies throughout their lives. The technological and organizational transformation of the economy is no longer just rendering job profiles with routine activities obsolete. It is also leading to a rapid growth of tasks in the service sector and to an increase in highly qualified positions that nowadays call for complex social, communicative, and problem-solving competencies. This upgrading of the job structure raises the demand for highly qualified persons and enhances the value of education and training both for the labor market and in society.