Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Level 3, Issue 7, 2009.


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. The inquiry concentrates on the new ‘world of work’ and the dynamic association with ‘human capital’ in particular the relationship between macro change policy narratives, the socio-political intent and implementation strategies. Critical considerations are given to ‘claims, issues, and concerns’ relating to components of the new order change policy as expressed in this modernisation agenda, with particular reference to awards systems. The conceptual approach is located in constructivism, the mode of inquiry utilises critical policy analysis and components of critical ethnography. The methodology is grounded in ‘non-numeric’ research discourse. The method consists of a systematic review, of documents, artefacts, and ‘critical self reflection’ as an actor in the sector. From an initial review of the evidence gathered, it can be argued that the higher education policy strategy is directed towards systems convergence and underpinned by a new common currency award framework, lubricated by a narrative of technocratic speak. In this new higher education strategy knowledge is codified, commodified, quantified, marketable and open to the emerging pressures of the free market.