Curricula for economic and social gain

Yorke, Mantz and Knight, Peter (2006). Curricula for economic and social gain. Higher Education, 51(4) pp. 565–588.



Discusses ways of forming curriculum to promote employability and citizenship, without compromising academic values.
Economic success is an aim of governments around the world. Their ‘human capital’ stance towards higher education implies the need to develop graduates’ capabilities to the full. The concept of graduate ‘employability’, currently being developed in the light of theory and empirical data, is beginning to find acceptance in the UK. One of the keys to its acceptability in higher education has been the alignment of employability with good learning – that is, learning that is manifested in complex outcomes. However, the achievement of complex outcomes requires a programme-level focus, rather than a focus on individual study units. This article reports on the way such a programme-level approach was adopted in four different universities in the UK, and how relatively small-scale actions have the potential to augment students’ employability. The implications for policy at the levels of the system, the higher education institution and the academic department are discussed.

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