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Up until 2000, the trend in the Western world has been for progressive raising of the school leaving age. Indeed many secondary schools in the UK have additional buildings built around the time of 'ROSLA' to cater for the extra people. The drive for the raising of the school leaving age was unemployment. An extra year of school makes a healthy dent in the unemployment figures. After all, if there are no jobs, why not continue people's education?
This scenario posits a reversal of the trend. What if the minimum school leaving age were abolished? Suppose society places a higher value on production and regards working as more important than education?
Arguably people will learn relevant skills sooner. There is a world of difference between learning technical drawing, or languages at school, and using it in a job. If life-long learning is the norm anyway, why would there be an incentive to force children to stay longer at school?
In this scenario we have very high levels of employment and a shortage of workers, both skilled and unskilled. Moreover, education has become much much more expensive, and more elitist.
This scenario needs more work to argue the case for it. We need to be shown more consequences...
There will however be opposition to this new movement away from higher education. Chartered members of the Establishment will try to convert people into their white collar suburbanite establishmentarian ways. Students who are strongly coerced to enter a post-secondary environment will end up miserable, as has happened for many generations of school children in the past forced to stay in school and 'behave' rather than actually learn. Children who try to rebel against the new order will end up spending weekends cutting grass without their beloved telephone or video game privileges. Eventually the people will see the error of their ways and teaching useless skills. People will genetically modify then selves so they will know everything and thus eliminated the need for school. with low attendance all schools will close in twenty five years.