The paper looks at the philosophical distinction between education and training as a potential historical tool for social, ethnic, political and gender inequality and ‘engineering’. It journeys briefly though the neo-liberal, Marxist, neo-Marxist, functionalist, social democratic, postmodern and feminist perspectives concerning education’s function within society. It also analyses the influence and impact of the Neo-liberal/New Right perspectives on education on British education since 1979 and in recent years. It explores the development in communication technology, its implication for formal and informal learning, its impact on choice and diversity of education and on social mobility. The paper looks at the traditional interpretation of the ideological notion of disempowerment for the divide between education and training in the 21st century, within the context of globalization, with its consequences of offshoring, migration and ethnic, gender and intersectionality re-positioning. It touches on the growth of populism as one of the potential outcomes of the neo-Marxists’ view of schools as lately having increasingly become sites of ideological struggle by different classes and by different ethnic, religious and cultural groups, struggling to ensure that education provides the things they wish, which may be different from the norms and values supported by the traditional institutions identified as the establishment, demanding different forms of personal, political, social and economic validation.
Keywords: Education; training; neo-liberal; disempowerment; globalization; intersectionality; elite; workforce; technology; populism.