Confronting Challenges to the Liberal Arts Curriculum: Perspectives of Developing and Transitional Countries

Confronting Challenges to the Liberal Arts Curriculum: Perspectives of Developing and Transitional Countries

Confronting Challenges to the Liberal Arts Curriculum: Perspectives of Developing and Transitional Countries

Confronting Challenges to the Liberal Arts Curriculum: Perspectives of Developing and Transitional Countries

Synopsis

Comparative research on higher education in developing and transitional countries is often focused on such issues as access, finance, student mobility and the impact of globalization, but there has been little attention to curriculum and the forces that shape it. Confronting Challenges to the Liberal Arts Curriculum fills an important gap in the literature by examining the context, content, challenges, and successes of implementing liberal arts coursework within undergraduate curriculum. In order to fully understand the place of liberal education in each location, chapter authors have employed a wide lens to investigate the influences upon curricular content in China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey. Thus, this volume explores how curricular content is decided, how educational programs are being structured, and whether countries are viewing higher education as more than just the preparation of students for specialized knowledge.

By providing detailed case studies of these countries at crucial transition points in their higher education systems, each chapter outlines the state of higher education system and the government's role, the impact of imported models, the presence of a liberal education, the curricular formation, and best examples of successful programs. Ultimately, this volume depicts how global influences have come to rest in developing countries and how market forces far removed from faculty and students have shaped the undergraduate curriculum. This valuable book is of interest to scholars and researchers in Higher Education as well as practitioners working to foster student and faculty exchange and raise awareness of curricular issues.

Excerpt

Demand for higher education worldwide is growing exponentially. Much of the enrollment growth in recent years has come from developing and transitional countries. Historically, many students from these countries have been part of a global migration to developed countries for access to high- quality education. While this pattern continues to be a characteristic of international higher education, there are growing indications that sending nations wish to take more direct responsibility for educating future generations of their students. a current sign of economic and political maturation in developing nations is a strong desire to improve and expand their own education infrastructure to meet the burgeoning demand for access to higher education (Altbach & Peterson, 2007).

The strategies to strengthen higher education vary by country, but a common imperative for the development of higher education is to align it with priorities for nation building and modernization. the case was made strongly by post- independence leaders in Africa, such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, who stated clearly that they wanted universities first and foremost to address the interests and priorities of their nations (Mwiria, 2003). Invariably, as part of the emphasis on the centrality of the state’s interests, there are high- level discussions about the need to build “world- class” universities and to promote fields of study deemed essential for economic development (Altbach, 2006). Science, especially applied science, and technology fields receive paramount attention. Allied fields of business and management science, as well as applied economics, also receive special consideration.

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