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‘Decent Work’ as a higher education policy myopia: an ecosystem framework for policy-making

Wall, T, Ngo, NTH, Luong, PM, Ho, TTH and Hindley, A (2024) ‘Decent Work’ as a higher education policy myopia: an ecosystem framework for policy-making. Studies in Higher Education. ISSN 0307-5079

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Globally, higher education policy is typically framed in terms of the technical employability capabilities to advance the economic productivity of nations, and as such, can be myopic to the wider sustainable development challenge of ‘Decent Work’ (a form of employment with good working conditions). This form of myopia can fail to materially change the sociocultural conditions in local contexts of learning and work and ultimately perpetuate structural disadvantage. The article draws from policy participation conducted over 4-years which included (1) longitudinal focus group dialogue involving educational policy makers, implementers and students (n=102), and (2) document analysis of formal policy and evaluation reports. The study is conducted in one of the fastest growing economies which is rapidly developing its policy frameworks (Vietnam) to enhance the employability of ethnic minority students. Findings highlight the need for (1) a meta-perspective which encompasses the multiple stakeholders involved in enabling students to access and engage in decent work, (2) building the capacity of students to actively change and improve their situations, and (3) awareness of the ways in which governments, educational institutions, and employers can value the diversity of students and their circumstances. In contrast to the dominant institutional perspective, this article conceptualises the counter-active effects across education-work ecosystems which mediates policy efficacy, and advances an alternative conceptual framework which integrates ecosystems, empowerment, and recognition theory to inform policy formulation and assessment . The article advocates expansive rather than myopic policy to drive participation in Decent Work.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: decent work; education policy; employability; empowerment; ethnic minority students; 1301 Education Systems; 1303 Specialist Studies in Education; Education
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Liverpool Business School
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2024 13:46
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2024 16:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/03075079.2024.2306355
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22218
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