A Comparative Analysis
Chapter 1: Redesigning Curricula: The Involvement of Economic Actors
Gabriele Ballarino The definition of curricula – that is, deciding what to teach and how it should be taught to students – traditionally pertains to the core business of universities, and as such it is a decision taken by the university’s academic staff. However, with the large increase in university attendance, on the one hand, and the importance of the skills produced by HE systems in the context of the knowledge economy, on the other, their social and economic responsibility grows as well. Hence, the weight of external actors – particularly economic – can be expected to increase in the definition and reorganization of curricula. In fact, of the six objectives of the 1999 Bologna Declaration (signed by the competent ministers of all the five countries studied), two are immediately important from this point of view: (1) that the first level HE qualification should by itself have value for employment and (2) that a system of credits be created on the model of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) to allow, besides mobility between institutes and countries, the formal recognition on the part of universities of skills acquired on-the-job, in a context of life-long learning. This chapter examines the involvement of economic actors in the design of the curricula in the HE systems of the six countries studied for this project. As will be seen, such involvement is by no means new, but there is evidence that it is increasing and assuming new forms. 1.1 TWO FORMS OF INVOLVEMENT In fact, the...
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