Politics and Curriculum Content in a Global Perspective: Addressing the Populism Tsunami
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This chapter outlines the objectives of the book. The academic world faces a tsunami in which knowledge- and evidence-based understanding and decisions are in danger of being swept away by the deluge of populist propaganda and assertion masquerading as the new truths. The populist pandemic represents a major challenge to learning and teaching in all disciplines, and the failure of the academic body to foster the societal engagement of learners and engage actively itself means that the challenge is now a red alert, or in government parlance at a ‘critical’ level, requiring an urgent and exceptional response. Hence the need for and purpose of this book.
In this chapter, we identify a range of issues with which universities globally have to contend, although not all of these are examined in detail in the ensuing chapters. These ‘forces’ pose grave challenges to conventional curriculum content, learning and teaching and the mindsets of students and graduates. We argue the need for their active engagement with the global experience that ‘isms’ triumph over evidence and identity relations reinforce beliefs even if they run counter to evidence. While the general message is universal, those who shape curriculum in different regions and countries will need to address their specific manifestation of political, scientific, cultural and social ‘populism’. The chapter gives an overview of the themes explored by the contributors to the book.
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