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
‘
‘ ...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?

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-humandevelopment (my normative position)
 Towards an expansive university
education

Gini co-efficients of income inequality, mid
2000s (OECD, 2008)
0.50
0.45
0.40
0.35
0.30
0.25
0.20
Human capital model and outcomes
Policy value
On being human
Individual as economic Human capital, income,
producer and
cost efficiency;
economic growth;
consumer-citizen
training-focused;
‘employability’
Outcomes
‘flexible identities’;
adaptability to the
market;
transferable skills &
generic skills;
social inequalities and
exclusion (social,
political and
economic)
Capabilities model and outcomes
On Being Human
Full human flourishing
and dignity to choose
a good life;
well-being and agency
Policy value
Human development;
human capabilities;
economic policy to
reduce inequality;
fostering voice and
public reasoning about
education.
Outcomes
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.
A multi-dimensional
integrated/aligned curriculum-ashuman development model: ‘the
achieving of a life of rich
significance.’
Curriculum aims
(capability
development)
Human Development
values: well-being
equity; sustainability;
participation and
empowerment; public
good values
critical thinking- the
examined life
‘thick’ global
citizenship
narrative imagination
Curriculum
knowledge Context specific
What knowledge and
why
Curriculum-inaction
Curriculum
outcomes
(functionings)
How do we teach – to What can our
promote capabilities
students be and do
(opportunities) and
that we and they
value?
functionings
(achievements)?
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......
Ethical debates
Scrutiny of global
processes; South/South
and South/North
networks and
programs
Interdisciplinary
programmes
Intercultural methods,
empathy;
Culture of respect and
fairness for all
‘Other-regarding
agents’Accountable,
responsible;
Respect for the natural
environment and for
life.
Recognise full human
dignity of all;
Decent humble, curious
and tolerant towards
others.....
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)
Descargar

Broadening the curriculum Melanie Walker