Since the 1980s, there has been a discursive shift from government regulation of natural resources to multi-level and multi-actor natural resource governance (NRG). Consequently, professionals in natural resource management now need to deal not only with the natural resources but also with complex multi-stakeholder processes required for their sustainable management. Current university education does not prepare graduates adequately for handling both tasks. Universities are therefore seeking to develop responsive curricula –one that is flexible and adaptive to specific needs- in NRG.
The nature of NRG is such that education of professionals requires simultaneous development of knowledge, skills and a range of thinking capacities including; critical thinking, forward thinking and reflexivity beyond disciplinary boundaries. Several characteristics of universities like the disciplinary partitioning of university curricula, disengagement of curriculum development from external stakeholders and use of traditional teaching and assessment methods challenge the ability of universities, particularly in Africa, to develop responsive curriculum adequately addressing capability needs of professionals in NRG.
The objective of this research is to examine how a curriculum responsive to capability needs of professionals in natural resource governance is developed, given the role of various contextual factors. Participatory action research is the mode of inquiry employed.