Accepted paper:

More than knowledge transfer? Student engagements with postgraduate taught programmes for international development


Amy North (UCL Institute of Education)
Rosie Westerveld (University of Sheffield)
Ian Warwick (UCL Institute of Education)
Chris Yates (UCL Institute of Education)
William Nicholas (UCL Institute of Education)

Paper short abstract:

Reporting on data collected with alumni from four MA programmes in Education and International Development, this paper considers the tensions between student expectations, what they value about their experiences of studying, and the challenges associated with taking learning into the workplace.

Paper long abstract:

This paper considers findings from the More Than Knowledge Transfer project, which explored the personal and professional trajectories of alumni from Education and International Development (EID) Masters programmes at the UCL Institute of Education, and investigated the extent to which they were able to draw on their MA learning to support the wellbeing of others. Reflecting on data collected through an online survey and in-depth interviews with former students, the paper considers the tensions between the expectations that students brought with them to the MAs, their experiences on the programme, and the challenges they encountered on graduating. While motivations to enrol on MA EID programmes were often linked instrumentally to career aspirations, what former students valued about the programmes themselves was associated with knowledge acquired, the values that informed teaching, and, importantly, the critical perspectives gained on development issues. However, although many participants have continued to draw on learning from their programme in their professional lives, the nature of the 'skills driven' labour market, financial pressures resulting from the cost of studying, and the complexity of the contexts in which many live and work, meant that taking these critical perspectives into the workplace was not always easy. In this paper, we consider the implications of these findings for teaching, programme development and student support.

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"We want skills! You'll get critical thinking!" - Opening up international development education [paper]