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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
This paper addresses the distinct area of ‘Key Skills’ and specifically investigates the ‘integration’ of same into Undergraduate Degree programmes in an Irish HEI. The three major influences of such an integration approach are inter alia:
- The influence at an institutional level
- The individual academic level and,
- The student factors.
These three factors can inhibit or facilitate integration and as such the inhibiting and facilitating aspects of each are dealt with.The paper also addresses the specific example of an Irish HEI and the possible challenges involved in incorporating such key skills, taking cognizance of the three main influences.
Writers like Chada  (2006) observe that HEI’s are currently under tremendous pressure to develop abilities in their students that are in some way transferable to contexts outside their field of study and posit that: “if the provision of skills development is to incorporate knowledge and understanding, analysis, creativity and evaluation, then integration of skills is the only viable option”. (Chada, 2006, p.21) . In Ireland, education budget cutbacks in Higher Education (HE) are increasingly leading to demands that the sector must be accountable and able to justify its value to the country from a purely economic perspective. From DIT’s perspective, the integration of these required skills can best be achieved by integrating the requisite skills-set into and across all programme modules on a consistent basis. The issues involved in making this happen in this HEI are explored.
This working paper signposts a research process presently being utilised to explore the influences of the aforementioned key pillars in the learning of key skills in an Irish HEI. As such, the reader is presented with emergent work and is invited to contribute to this early stage of my research process.
McCauley, J.: Towards the Integration of Key Skills (KS) into an Undergraduate Curriculum in an Irish Higher Education Institution (HEI). Proceeding of AISHE (All Ireland Society for Higher Education) Conference, Dublin City University, 26th August, 2011.