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Social Sciences, Vol. 10, Pages 331: Participation in Higher Education

Social Sciences, Vol. 10, Pages 331: Participation in Higher Education Curricula Development in Armenia and Possible Effects for the Labour Market—The Case of an “Organic Agriculture” Master’s Program

Social Sciences doi: 10.3390/socsci10090331

Authors:
Hasmik Hovakimyan
Milena Klimek
Bernhard Freyer
Stefan Vogel

Weak or unstructured stakeholder participation in higher education curricula development still remains a problem in Armenia. Change in outdated curricula development processes is needed, as they often do not meet students’ needs; do not adopt innovative teaching methods or tools; and do not fit the labour market’s demand. This paper traces the evolution of the participatory curriculum development process of the Organic Agriculture Master’s program at the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU). Prioritizing mainly qualitative methods of research, five relevant stakeholder groups with approximately 10–12 members each at varying levels were involved in this action research. Additionally, paper-based and online surveys were conducted with 290 ANAU students. The results focus on the conceptual mapping of the process of participatory action research, bridging its relevance to the Armenian labour market’s needs. Moreover, the results highlight lessons learned from the process—shaping them around significant theories for participatory action research—and underline the possibilities of the Organic Agriculture Master’s development process as a model program at ANAU and perhaps elsewhere.

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