Avoiding a Tragedy of the Commons
Chapter 3: The New Limits of Education Policy: The Quality of Undergraduate Education
INTRODUCTION Human capital, the education, skills and knowledge of a society’s population, is now regarded as the key to economic and social development; it is the principal resource for any society.28 Educational institutions are the principal formal venue for human capital development. However, while national leaders understand the critical importance of human capital, they have not translated this understanding into educational policy that increases the effectiveness and efficiency of educational institutions at all levels. Over the next few decades this situation will change. Education policy will come to be seen as central in the nation state’s arsenal of tools to guarantee national security and advance all dimensions of social and economic development. As part of the strengthened role of education policy, assessment will become an important part of undergraduate education, the capstone of the K-16 education system. However, for this assessment to be meaningful, it must be focus on the higher order skills that are necessary to human capital in the Knowledge Economy. A NEW CENTRAL ROLE FOR THE STATE: PRESERVING AND IMPROVING HUMAN CAPITAL The primary role of the State is to provide national security for its citizens. In the industrial era of development the national security focus included protection of national geographic boundaries, natural resources, and economic institutions that made up the economy.29 Today, protecting and enhancing human capital is increasingly becoming part of providing national security for citizens. Since the K-16 education system is the formal venue for preservation and enhancement of human capital, education policy should...
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