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Employability and higher education: the follies of the ‘Productivity Challenge’ in the Teaching Excellence Framework

Frankham, J (2016) Employability and higher education: the follies of the ‘Productivity Challenge’ in the Teaching Excellence Framework. Journal of Education Policy. ISSN 0268-0939

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This article considers questions of ‘employability’, a notion foregrounded in the Green and White Papers on the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The paper first questions government imperatives concerning employability and suggests a series of mismatches that are evident in the rhetorics in this area. This summary opens up elements of what I am calling the first ‘folly’ in the field. The second section of the paper considers recent research with individual academics engaged in employability activity. This research suggests another series of mismatches in the aims and outcomes of ‘employability initiatives’ and opens up a further series of ‘follies’ in the day-to-day practices of academics and students’ responses to them. The third section of the paper turns to academics’ reports of student behaviour in relation to the outcomes of their degree. This section develops an argument that relates to the final ‘folly’ associated with the current focus on employability. I argue that students’ focus on outcomes (which at face value suggests they have internalized the importance of employment) is contributing to the production of graduates who do not have the dispositions that employers – when interviewed – say that they want. The highly performative culture of higher education, encouraged by the same metrics that will be extended through the TEF, is implicated then in not preparing students for the workplace. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Education Policy on 23 Dec 2016 available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2016.1268271
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1303 Specialist Studies In Education, 1605 Policy And Administration
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Education
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 16:00
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 11:58
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/02680939.2016.1268271
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5472
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