The necessity to empower students to challenge and reshape higher education curricula in a global age

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Clifford, Valerie Anne (2009) The necessity to empower students to challenge and reshape higher education curricula in a global age. Reflecting Education, 5 (1). pp. 4-15. ISSN 1746-9082


In the last decade the proportional decrease in public funding to the higher education sector in countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand have seen universities become increasingly entrepreneurial in raising revenue, especially in the international education market. This has dramatically increased the number of international students attending Western universities and the delivery of courses overseas. Despite rhetoric concerning internationalisation of the curriculum changes mainly focus on inducting international students into the Western educational system and little attention has been paid to developing curricula to meet the future needs of all students as global citizens. The views of students themselves on their futures and the education they require to live those futures has rarely been sought. This paper introduces the voices of students from all campuses of a large Australian university with eight campuses, two of them ‘offshore’. Interviews with students investigated their perceptions of their futures and their experience of internationalisation of curriculum at the university. Despite their diverse backgrounds and locations the students held similar visions of their futures and saw the need for their education to be relevant to those futures. However, what this meant in practice was complex and informed by identity and geographic location. While some students accepted uncritically what the university offered others experienced their education as a colonialist enterprise. This study highlights the need for universities to know their students and to involve them in curricular planning and in building a new critical pedagogy responsive to the rich diversity of needs of our current student cohorts.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1301 Education Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Work-Based Education Research Centre (WERC)
Keywords ResPubID21780. internationalising the curriculum, internationalisation of the curriculum, IoC, curricula, academic disciplines, university, tertiary education, higher education, Australia, Australian
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