Saturday, 30 October 2010

Yet another silly acronym!

The last few weeks have been rather busy because of my project on St Kitts and Nevis, which continues to be absolutely fascinating. I've been getting on with reading papers and reports, thinking about the material collected from lots of interviews, and starting to write big chunks of what will eventually be our report on the macroeconomic framework. I suppose I'm doing what I've often advised my students to do, namely to get on with the writing quite early in the project, partly because it is always good for the morale to start generating some 'output', partly because it helps to identify gaps and weaknesses in our argument - and in this case, it's good preparation for our next round of meetings.

The result, though, is that I've had little time to update this blog, a pity as lots of interesting things have been happening recently in the higher education world. However, this weekend I'm trying to catch up a little. And I've just been reading a few short policy papers circulated by e-mail around my department back home, one of which contains the fascinating acronym, EPCR. Apparently our academics should now be taking this on as one of their responsibilities, but luckily, as I'm essentially retired, it doesn't really apply to me. So what does this strange new acronym actually mean?

Well, EPCR means 'employability and professional career readiness', rather a mouthful as you'll agree. I'm not exactly sure what else it means beyond what we normally do in terms of teaching courses, imparting some useful transferable skills, and so on. More importantly, I find myself worrying a little that this new responsibility is seemingly ours rather than our students'. After all, who is it who actually needs a career when they graduate from the university? Surely it is our students, now transformed into fresh graduates, and surely that means it is they who have the incentive to make sure they have the skills, competences, or whatever they need to prepare them for their various careers. Of course we can provide help, support, guidance, as needed, but I must admit to being quite sceptical about the idea of EPCR beoming a new academic responsibility. It has the feel of the latest fad, and I imagine it will fade away when the next 'big idea' comes along.

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