The text examines the challenges and problems facing school education (in general or vocationally) as a result of globalization and the technological changes in work. It first looks at the problems on an international level and then at the demands facing the Brazilian society. In relation to the latter aspect recent documents from the Education Ministry and the Labor Ministry, which propose a reform of the Vocational Education System, are analysed. Such a reform implies not only a certain way of linking general and vocational education but, also, many changes on high schools. The effects of these changes on youth education are the object of concern of many Brazilian educators.