ERG SES B 02, Parallel Session B 02
The paper discusses current curriculum reformat Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Mozambique. UEM is the major and oldest institution of higher education in Mozambique located in the capital city, Maputo. The university functions in a complex socio-cultural context that influences its academic environment. An important contextual factor is that the university belongs to one of the poorest countries in the world. This leads to dependence on donors for the funding of activities such as: scholarships, supply of equipment, placement of foreign staff at the faculties, etc. Currently, Mozambican Higher Education is also in the process of regional integration and adjustment to the Bologna Model which is expected to facilitate cross-border mobility of faculty staff and students. The actual curricular reform aims at bringing new forms of teaching and learning practices and raising the quality of higher education according to common regional and international standards. The key element of the current reforms is introduction of new participatory forms of pedagogical practices with a move from a teacher-centred to a student-centred pedagogical approach (UEM, 1999). However, no systematic studies about changes in the process of teaching and learning resulting from curriculum reforms have been carried out in Mozambican higher education. The reported study aims to fill in this gap, providing better understanding how different stakeholders act and react in the process of the reform implementation.
Activity theory is used as a theoretical framework for the study (Leont’ev, 1981). The collective activity system is taken as a unit of analysis that connects the psychological, cultural and institutional perspectives. In this way, an activity is undertaken by a human agent (subject) who is motivated towards the solution of a problem or purpose (object), and mediated by tools (artifacts) in collaboration with others (community) (Engeström et al., 1999). In the context of educational reform, it can mean that the lecturers should be involved in the construction of the object and mediation of the activity. In turn, the students must assume the role of active subjects of the learning activity. In the learning activity, an example of the object of activity can be the understanding of events, concepts, and theoretical relationships. The principle of tool mediation plays a central role within the theory. Tools shape the way in which human beings interact with reality. In the context of this paper, mediating artifacts in the academic activity can mean laboratory equipment, technical resources, Internet, administrative tools to organize the work, norms and professional language. The study of mediating tools becomes important as they usually reflect the experiences of other people who have tried to solve similar problems at an earlier time and invented or modified the tool to make it more efficient (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006).
Denscombe, M. (2008). The Good Research Guide: for small-scale social research projects (3rd edition).USA: Open University Press. Engeström, Y. (1999). Activity Theory and Individual and Social Transformation. In Y. Engeström, R. Miettinen & R. L. Punamäki (Eds.). Perspectives on Activity Theory. (pp. 19-38). USA: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS. Kaptelinin, V. & Nardi, B. A. (2006). Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design. USA: MIT Press. Leont’ev, A.N. (1981). The problem of activity in psychology. In J.Wertsch (ed.) The concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology. pp. 7-71, NY, M.E.Sharpe Inc. MHEST (2000). Plano Estratégico da UEM (2008-2012). Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. Maputo. UEM (1999). Reforma Curricular: Documento para Discussão. Maputo: Comissão Central de Reforma Curricular
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