Aligning tertiary education curriculum with workplace competence in Rwanda : a case study
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One of the major problems in higher education is the non-alignment of tertiary education curriculum with workplace competencies demand. This embedded single case design was aimed to explore this challenge of curriculum alignment with workplace competence in Rwanda. The study collected data through in-depth interviews, observations, and document analysis. Twenty-one participants were purposively (multiple variation sampling) selected from 4 private universities, 4 public institutions of higher education, and 1 government agency. This study employed participants of different profiles (12 university instructors, 4 academic vice presidents, 4 employees, and 1 employer). Guided by 4 research questions, this study revealed that the tertiary education curriculum in Rwanda was not aligned with the competence demand in the workplace as the content, programs (fields of study), and instructional methods being used do not adequately address the local workplace needs. With regard to the employability competencies most needed, the study found that generic skills were needed at 42.66% against 57.33% of specific competencies. Moreover, among generic skills, the study found that communication skill was to be the highly preferred by employers. Furthermore, the study found the engagement of university-external stakeholders in curriculum activities was very limited and hence recommended the tripartite partnership—university-government-industry. Similar to previous studies that assert that labor market information is a contributing factor to educational supply and workplace demand alignment, this study found that there is enough information that could serve to inform both education and business decisions. However, participants indicated that the information is mismanaged and spread out to the extent it is not informative. Thereby, the participants suggested the establishment of labor market information system. The study ended with a curriculumworkplace alignment model based on 6 dimensions which will further guide the extension of this study through quantitative perspectives.