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Education policy: Mapping the landscape and scope

Sandra Bohlinger, Thi Kim Anh Dang and Malgorzata Klatt

This book maps recent developments in the landscape of education policy in higher and vocational education, the returns of education, curriculum design and education reforms, driven by social, economic, political and cultural factors. Contributed by over twenty authors from five continents, this collection provides diverse, innovative and useful perspectives on the ways education policy is researched, implemented and enacted. It helps researchers, policy makers, students and practitioners to better understand processes of policy making, its theory, practice and outcomes. Despite national differences, many shared features and challenges emerge from this book as education systems face the common need to reinvent their existing systems and processes.

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The Profession-Oriented Higher Education Project in Vietnam: When curricular knowledge is at stake


This paper seeks to analyse the recent Profession-Oriented Higher Education (POHE) curriculum in Vietnam, a long term cooperation project funded by the Dutch government since 2005. The adoption of the POHE curriculum is a radical response to what is considered ‘the straitjacket’ of the past, aspiring for a quality education that will enable future generations to be the major source of innovation for economic growth and competitiveness. The questions it attempts to address are: (1) How is curricular knowledge conceptualized in the POHE curriculum? (2) What implications might such epistemological assumption(s) have on the curriculum policy goals? The overall purpose of the paper is to advance an argument for redeeming the role of disciplinary conceptual knowledge and the verticality of knowledge structures into the curriculum. This attempt is achieved through the employment of the social realist approach to curricular knowledge, which draws on Durkheim’s sociological account of knowledge. Viewing curricular knowledge as both constrained by its internal (epistemology) and external (sociality) factors, the Durkheimian social realist theory of knowledge has proved to be a powerful tool in making explicit the knowledge assumption underlying a curriculum, thus allowing a theoretically informed approach to addressing curriculum issues. From the analysis, it is argued that the POHE curriculum is underpinned by instrumental and constructivist assumptions about knowledge which are highly likely to run against POHE’s well-intentioned goals.

1.  Introduction

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