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Spanish academic discuss frameworks for successful higher education
2013-08-29

Prof Melanie Walker, Senior Research Professor at CHECaR, Prof Sandra Boni and Dr Sonja Loots, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the CHECaR seminar.
29 August 2013
Photo: Thabo Motsoane

In the latest Centre for Higher Education and Capabilities Research (CHECaR) seminar, Prof Sandra Boni from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain presented on ‘Competencies in Higher Education: A Critical Analysis from the Capabilities Approach.’ The presentation focused on the significant transformation taking place in universities and how that is affecting teaching and learning practices. The competencies approach plays a key role in this transformation process by associating the mastering of certain skills with successful completion of higher education qualifications.

Prof Boni and her colleagues argue that the competencies approach is flawed and too narrow to be used in evaluating successful higher education and that a broader human development perspective has to be applied. She argues that the capabilities approach represents a more inclusive framework for guiding the holistic development of students through the expansion of all human choices to achieve what they value most, not just to benefit economically from education. The inclusion of the human development framework in universities’ training would lead to generating ‘public-good professionals’ who are equipped prepared with the necessary competencies to enter their chosen career – but who will also be the bearers of a social consciousness.

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