Education for flexibility in a changing world: a case study of competency development in university graduates

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for an Unknown Future Vol. 26

July, 2003, 692 pages
Published by
Helen Mathews and Rod McKay
ISBN
0 90 8557 55 8
Abstract 

Generic competencies are widely recognised as being essential for an individual's integration into a rapidly changing workplace. In order to respond proactively to change, one needs to be able to critically consider one’s own worldview and its relationship to the world views of others. This capacity is defined as critical reflective thinking. The authors compared the extent to which generic competencies (including critical reflective thinking) were developed across three degree streams: arts, science and engineering. The authors maintain that all degree streams develop competencies required for successful adaptation of graduates to the workforce. An Arts degree was found to be more successful at developing the higher- level competency of critical reflective thinking, whilst poorer development of this competency was found amongst technical engineering degrees. These findings have implications for the relevance of general arts and science courses facing the challenge of shifting enrolments to vocationally-specific courses.

Keywords: generic competencies; critical reflective thinking; degree streams

Education for flexibility in a changing world: a case study of competency development in university graduates

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Tranter, P. & Warn, J.