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HICA – Harmonisation And Innovation In Central America Higher Education Curricula: Enhancing And Implementing A Regional Qualifications Framework

4 - Quality education; Teaching Projects; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018

HICA, driven by university associations, universities and ministries in 6 Central American (CA) countries, intends to support the reform, innovation and harmonisation of HE curricula. The project will further develop/implement a regional qualifications framework for Central American HE (‘MCESCA’) – proposed by the prior project Alfa PUENTES – that defines what a student should know, understand and be able to do after each HE cycle, in a CA context.

HICA will complete the MCESCA by defining learning outcomes for pre-bachelor programmes as well as time/credits required for the different HE cycles. This will be done through national focus groups, where different stakeholders will be consulted.

The MCESCA will then be tested and implemented: a pilot for curriculum re-design in the CA partner universities will be carried out, whereby each revises a study programme, defining work-based learning ourcomes that correlate to the MCESCA. European partners will share practice on curricula innovation in support of this.

Then, the pilot outcomes and the MCESCA itself will be promoted widely to regional and national political bodies, employers, accreditation agencies, etc. via national promotion workshops, organised by the associations and the ministries. These will enrich and validate the MCESCA as a tool in the region.

HICA will have diverse impacts: The revised academic programmes will have a catalytic effect, bringing leadership, students and teaching staff together to implement curricula reform. In addition, CA universities will network and reinforce regional cooperation. National associations and the ministries will benefit from a regionally agreed tool that they can use for quality assurance and teaching reforms taking place in their own systems as well as recognition. The European partners will benefit from discussions on frameworks for HE reform in CA, which will provide an important mirror for similar reforms that take place in the context of the Bologna Process.

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