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A human capabilities approach to broadening the reach, responsiveness and quality of the university curriculum A human capabilities approach to broadening.

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Presentation on theme: "A human capabilities approach to broadening the reach, responsiveness and quality of the university curriculum A human capabilities approach to broadening."— Presentation transcript:

1 A human capabilities approach to broadening the reach, responsiveness and quality of the university curriculum A human capabilities approach to broadening the reach, responsiveness and quality of the university curriculum A presentation to the University of Limerick Colloquium, 20 January 2010 by Professor Melanie Walker, School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK

2 ‘ ‘...the achieving of a life of rich significance....’ (John Dewey) What kind of world and what kind of society do we want to work and live in? What does the world and society we currently work and live in look like? What do we need to do to reduce the gap between the ideal and the real? What should public universities be doing and what should they be trying to achieve? How then ought a university curriculum to entail a society’s future?

3 Outline of steps in the argument Universities and development: Human capital policy model – mind the well-being gap Human capabilities policy model Education capabilities Capabilities and curriculum-as-human- development (my normative position) Towards an expansive university education

4 Gini co-efficients of income inequality, mid 2000s (OECD, 2008)

5 Human capital model and outcomes On being humanPolicy valueOutcomes Individual as economic producer and consumer-citizen Human capital, income, cost efficiency; economic growth; training-focused; ‘employability’ ‘flexible identities’; adaptability to the market; transferable skills & generic skills; social inequalities and exclusion (social, political and economic)

6 Capabilities model and outcomes On Being HumanPolicy valueOutcomes Full human flourishing and dignity to choose a good life; well-being and agency Human development; human capabilities; economic policy to reduce inequality; fostering voice and public reasoning about education. real freedom to choose the job one has reason to value more justice in education and society and less inequality; more well-being and more agency.

7 A multi-dimensional integrated/aligned curriculum-as- human development model: ‘the achieving of a life of rich significance.’

8 Curriculum aims (capability development) Curriculum knowledge - Context specific Curriculum-in- action Curriculum outcomes (functionings) Human Development values: well-being equity; sustainability; participation and empowerment; public good values What knowledge and why How do we teach – to promote capabilities (opportunities) and functionings (achievements)? What can our students be and do that we and they value? critical thinking- the examined life Discussion-based pedagogies; Reflexive practices ; Inclusive teaching and learning; Critical agents; Disciplined and independent thinker, open-minded; Knowledgeable and creative; Aware of moral and ethical debates and questions ‘thick’ global citizenship Ethical debates Scrutiny of global processes; South/South and South/North networks and programs Interdisciplinary programmes ‘Other-regarding agents’- Accountable, responsible; Respect for the natural environment and for life. narrative imagination Intercultural methods, empathy; Culture of respect and fairness for all Recognise full human dignity of all; Decent humble, curious and tolerant towards others.....

9 What do we do? The wealth and power of humanity in the 21st century could be used to create a far better world’ (Economics for Equity and Environment ) Universities uniquely combine a bundle of functions: scholars and scientists, education of professionals, general education& formation of enlightened citizens. (Habermas, 1989)


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