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Issue 7 - June 2009

peerreviewedTitle - The dynamics of human capital and the world of work: Towards a common market in contemporary tertiary education
Author - Aidan Kenny    [click here for a biography of the author]
Summary - The drive for the so-called ‘knowledge society’, and the expected competitive advantage envisioned, has led to ‘power elites’ and vested interests applying pressure on nation states to develop and implement policies that push the balance of national education systems towards the economic imperative and away from the social good. This social inquiry will describe items, strategies and objectives relating to the pursuit of the current higher education change policy agendas, as expressed in key Irish policy documents.[read full article]

Title - Using virtual laboratories in control engineering education
Author - Aidan O'Dwyer    [click here for a biography of the author]
Summary - The twin pressures of the need for students to learn a wider variety of concepts, ideally in a self-learning mode, and the reduction in class contact time has led to the use of increased levels of information technology in control engineering education. This paper reports on, reflects on, and evaluates the author’s use of virtual laboratories (computer based laboratories available on the internet) in control engineering modules at DIT Kevin St. The use of the virtual laboratories helps in the ongoing evolution of the teaching approach from a traditional didactic lecture and laboratory course to a more learner-centred approach. The author’s experience is that student motivation, student self-learning and the enhancement of theoretical understanding and practical ability are significantly increased with the appropriate use of these laboratories, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. [read full article]

Title - Public Private Partnerships: A licence to print money … or Value for Money?
Author - Raymond Turner [click here for a biography of the author]
Summary - It is often considered that a Public Private Partnership (PPP) is a licence to print money for the private entity and that the state receives a price which does reflect the value of the underlying public asset.

This paper explores key concepts that underpin and define the nature of PPPs and how such partnerships have emerged and evolved as a means of project funding. The relationship between the underlying asset and the ownership of the derived benefit from the consumption of the public asset is explored to illustrate how the same asset can represent different values. [read full article]

Title - Enhancing academic currency by the ‘Visiting Lecturer’ programme
Authors - Tadhg Walshe   [click here for a biography of the author]
Summary - Most lecturers in 3rd level educational institutions realise that they need to maintain academic and professional currency; they need to research and refresh if they are to be properly relevant to students and to make their jobs fulfilling. How can we stay abreast of our subjects and deliver lectures that engage the interest and participation of our student audience? Take a subject like ‘Building Management’; since I joined the staff of Bolton Street many years ago, I have been grappling with how to make my ‘Management’ lectures interesting and useful, and so ensure a ‘captive’ audience in the classroom![read full article]

Title - Factors that influence the attractiveness of a technical and vocational education and training institution: A case study of a Technical Institute in Kenya
Authors - John Wanyonyi Simiyu    [click here for a biography of the author]
Summary - Enrolment in any academic institution is crucial in as far as its existence and survival are concerned. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that influence the attractiveness of a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institution in Kenya. The instruments used to collect data were questionnaires, interviews and observation schedules. Data collected was analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. This study revealed several salient findings. The institution offered a variety of programmes that attracted prospective students from across the country. The programmes were widely advertised using various modes of media to the appropriate target group. The institution carried out an opinion survey before introducing the courses. The courses were taught by qualified and committed instructors to ensure an above average performance. Support services were efficiently provided. The Board of Governors played an important role of ‘humanising’ the institution by putting in place various activities relevant to proper functioning of the institution. Machines and equipment were serviceable and materials were readily available for effective training. The Principal applied various managerial practices that had also proved successful elsewhere to effectively and efficiently run his institution. Discipline was instilled by the institution through mechanisms put in place by a team of professionals under the Dean of students. As a result, the institution recorded a remarkable upward trend in its achievement in a three-year period. Furthermore, the morale of the workers improved tremendously.[read full article]

Title - Le cadre des certifications professionnelles – un instrument pour la réforme de l’enseignement supérieur?
Author - Sorin Eugen Zaharia, Cosmina Marinela Mironov, Anca Elena Borzea- [click here for a biography of the author]
Summary - Nous vivons dans la civilisation du savoir. Au moins deux ou trois fois par jour, on entend à la faculté, à la télé ou à la radio, on lit ou on prononce couramment des syntagmes tels que «la société du savoir», «l’économie du savoir», «recherche – développement – innovation» ou «éducation/formation continue». Maintes fois, on entend ou on prononce ces mots dans des contextes différents, mais à chaque fois il y a une liaison avec les notions de savoir, connaissances ou formation. Le contexte le plus fréquent est pourtant celui de la compétition.[read full article]


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