International Research Conference, Lancaster UK, 18 - 20 July 2016
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reThink reImagine reEnact (TIE) higher education curriculum holistically: a quest for social justice

Langutani M Masehela, University of Venda, South Africa


Abstract The two-decade old democratic government of South Africa brought unexpected realities that citizens have to face and deal with. This implies that eventualities of this century should create an enabling environment that can allow teachers and students in all levels of education to become creative and innovative more than ever before as they prepare for the world of work. I argue in this paper that addressing challenges of social injustice, unemployment in particular, should not be solely a government responsibility but it should be a higher education sector’s responsibility. I argue that it is academic institutions’ responsibility to build into the existing curriculum a sense of “independent-standing”, thinking out of the box by building into the curriculum a culture of creativity, innovation and a desire for self-employment. As argued out by Jenni Case, the knowledge question in this study is the question of what can we teach our students to have built a sense of independence by the time they leave the four wall of their Alma Mata? What should be included in the curriculum to enable students not to wait for government or private sector employment but they get driven by a desire to be self-employed? Case further asks the question: “what degree can institutions formulated to produce an elite be reformed to meet the needs of a different world?”. These are relevant questions in the South African higher education context where massification became real through admission of students from all socio-economic backgrounds such as poor, rural, urban and rich. Amongst these diverse group of students one finds academically gifted and less gifted, creative and less creative students. As a result the kind of graduate produced by the higher education sector varies dramatically. I have used, in this paper, Amartya Sen’s capability approach to argue out how rethinking of the curriculum could unfold in higher education. I further used Martha Nussbaum’s framework of cultivating humanity to provide a framework for reimagining the curriculum. I then drew in Margaret Archer’s four modes of reflexivity as a source to assist curriculum developers in reenacting the curriculum.


Capability approach; ‘cultivating humanity’; ‘independent-standing’; innovation; reflexivity; unemployment;

Link to Full Paper (If submitted)


Conference Organisers

Paul Trowler
Lancaster University, UK

Alice Jesmont
Lancaster University, UK

Malcolm Tight
Lancaster University, UK

Paul Ashwin
Lancaster University, UK

Murray Saunders
Lancaster University, UK

Chrissie Boughey
Rhodes University, South Africa

Suellen Shay
University of Cape Town, SA

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