CITATION: Bitzer, E. & Botha, N. 2011. Introductory Chapter, in E. Bitzer & N. Botha (eds.). Curriculum Inquiry in South African Higher Education: Some Scholarly Affirmations and Challenges. Stellenbosch: SUN MeDIA. 17-29. doi:10.18820/9781920338671/00.
The original publication is available from AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, Stellenbosch: South Africa.
Chapters in Books
INTRODUCTION: Inquiry into higher education curricula or, what is sometimes referred to in a broader sense as ‘the curriculum’ in higher education, is a complex business. One important reason for this is that higher education institutions operate in increasingly super-complex environments (Barnett 2000, 2003, 2011) while the very idea of ‘the curriculum’ is unstable and its boundaries vague (Barnett & Coate 2005). Typical questions that arise on the issue of curriculum inquiry include whether the curriculum is merely confined to intended educational experiences and stated outcomes or whether the hidden curriculum should also be accounted for. What are the external and internal forces exerting pressures on the curriculum? Does the curriculum focus on the actual lived learning experiences of students or does it extend outside of the seminar, the classroom, the tutorial, the laboratory, the library or the computer centre? Does the curriculum have boundaries in terms of its geography, allocated time or responsibility? Where does the institutional concern for the curriculum start and end? Where do issues such as pedagogy, teaching, learning and assessment overlap within or across the curriculum? All of these questions and many others make curriculum inquiry a vast and complex field that cannot be even closely addressed within the confines of a single book.