Kompetencebegrebet og andre stileøvelser : Fortællinger om uddannelsesudviklingen på de danske universiteter efter universitetsloven 2003

Abstract : The thesis explores the curricular implications of the concept of 'competence' that was introduced into the Danish Framework of Qualifications for Higher Education 2003 as part of the national implementation of the European Bologna Process. The thesis takes a constructivist approach to policy analysis that addresses the concept of competence as a site of negotiation over the role and function of higher education. In accord with frequently used governmentality approaches, I show how the concept of 'competence' is linked to a major discursive shift away from an epistemological-democratic discourse in which the objective of higher education was linked to the maintenance of a broad and advanced knowledge base and to the preparation of students for life as democratic citizens. Instead, the new market-oriented discourse reduced the role of higher education to a question of preparing the students for the labour market. However, I also problematise the underlying assumptions of the governmentality approaches for their tendency to presume that a neoliberal rationality is in the process of unfolding, and their concentration on the discourses, technologies and practices that demonstrate this. In contrast, I pay attention to the range of different rationalities and concerns, which are struggled over in a widely contested process of translating the Bologna Framework of Qualification for the Higher Education Area into a Danish context. I study this contested process in two sites: national policy documents and three local study programmes in two universities. First, I make a comparison between the documents setting out the Bologna processand the Danish Framework of Qualifications - which preceded the Bologna process' own Framework of Qualifications. The Bologna documents emphasise social and democratic development, and only one of their four objectives concerned preparation for the labour market. In contrast, I show how the Danish Framework of Qualifications made a dramatic discursive shift to focus only on the market-oriented discourse. Whereas the Bologna documents convey a post-Fordist vision of preparing students for a flexible labour, the Danish Framework of Qualificatons deploys the concept of 'competence' to project a rigid standardisation of the professional skills required for specific elements of the labour market. In the Danish version, the state is still an important actor and its idea of the labour market is far from the Bologna process' emphasis on diversification, flexibility and life long learning - this is far from a simpleunfolding of a neoliberal rationality. Second, the writing of the study programmes at the two universities raises further issues, which refine the governmentality approaches. The national requirement to rewrite the study programmes around 'competence goals' looks, on the face of it, like an unfolding of a neoliberal rationality. However, I explore the range of other rationalities and concerns that are also at play in the process of rewriting the study programmes. What this shows, is that the academics thought that they could comply with the overall requirements to produce 'competence goals', and in doing so, could in fact contest them, or at least retain important aspects of their traditional pedagogy. At the University of Copenhagen, their concern was to sustain the Humboldtian tradition of students' freedom to pursue deep learning as a long term good for sustaining society. At Roskilde University, the concern was to sustain participatory and formative learning. In both cases, the academics felt they had succeeded. What my study shows is, however, that the framework of the study programmes was so tight and the 'competence goals' defined the learning outcomes so stringently that there was no place in the study programmes for free and formative learning. As a consequence, I conclude that by trying to translate the 'real values' of the Danish university tradition into performance oriented 'competence goals', the academics became co-producers of a new kind of steering in which knowledge has become truly performative, and in which all values that could not be translated into 'competences' applicable to employment were excluded. The effect was to narrow the role and function of the university, because little room was left in the study programmes for anything not related to preparation for the labour market.
Document type :
Theses
Education. University of Copenhagen, 2011. Danish


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Submitted on : Friday, November 25, 2011 - 12:38:34 PM
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Laura Louise Sarauw. Kompetencebegrebet og andre stileøvelser : Fortællinger om uddannelsesudviklingen på de danske universiteter efter universitetsloven 2003. Education. University of Copenhagen, 2011. Danish. <tel-00644854>

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