Creating a responsive curriculum for postgraduates: lessons from a case in Ghana

Ameyaw, J.A.S.; Turnhout, E.; Arts, B.J.M.; Wals, A.E.J.


A responsive curriculum addresses the changing needs of students, bridging the gap between universal knowledge and theories on one hand and contextual, continuously changing realities of everyday life and the world of work, on the other. Though several higher education institutions appreciate the value of making curriculum responsive, how to do this remains a challenge. This paper first identified unique attributes of responsive curriculum development based on literature and assessed their manifestation in the creation of a new Masters curriculum in natural resource and environmental governance in Ghana. The role of actors within and outside academia and its implications, were also investigated. The study was designed as participatory action research. Key process attributes identified include, among others, iteration, built-in learning within the curriculum development process, and the contribution of actors from outside academia to curriculum design and implementation. The study also shows the important role of the so-called champion of the process and the expert facilitators. The paper does not seek to provide a blue-print but rather provides a valuable example for future initiatives at creating curriculum that better responds to current needs of students.