Employers' influence monitored

March 20, 1998

A SHIFT in the undergraduate curriculum away from a traditional academic model to a more applied one is under scrutiny at the Institute of Education.

Atwo-year project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will examine how employers are influencing higher education by comparing curriculum records with its aims. Initially, five subjects will be analysed on the basis of interviews with about 200 academics.

Project leader Ronald Barnett said: "Our hypothesis is that curricula are moving, albeit variously and unevenly, from traditional to more applied forms, structures and styles oriented to work."

The final picture was likely to be uneven because the so-called elite institutions are less responsive to pressure from employers and the academic agenda tended to remain dominant.

The project, in partnership with Gareth Parry of Surrey University, will also ask to what extent universities ought to respond to the world of work.

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