Professionalization of curriculum design practices in technical vocational colleges: curriculum leadership and collaboration

Nabeel Albashiry

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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In response to a growing demand for qualified middle-level professionals by industry and businesses, developing countries are paying increasing attention to Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Overestimating the capacity of the TVET academic managers and teachers to maintain the quality and relevance of the TVET educational programs, given the lack of professional preparation for such a critical academic task, holds little promise for achieving the mandate of these institutions. The purpose of this educational design research was to professionalize curriculum design practices in TVET academic departments through enhancing the curriculum leadership of Heads of Department (HoDs) and promoting teacher collaborative curriculum design. The study intervention comprised two rounds of a professional development arrangement (PDA), which comprised training, coaching, exemplary materials, and a hands-on curriculum renewal experience. The findings clearly indicate that the participating HoDs highly valued the design, content, and relevance of the PDA to their job as middle academic managers. The PDA provided positively influenced the HoDs' attitude towards and learning about systematic and relational curriculum design, curriculum leadership, and collaborative curriculum design. The PDA also changed and/ or enhanced certain traditionally held beliefs by the HoDs about 'curriculum' and 'curriculum design'. The learning gained helped the HoDs better realize the complexity of curriculum design and the criticality of their role as curriculum leaders. The participating HoDs managed, with varying degrees, to lead their teacher collaborative curriculum design teams to apply both systematic and relational curriculum design procedures. Both HoDs and teachers perceived their formal curricula to have now better clarity and consistency with the needs and expectations of the concerned stakeholders. It was also found that the ways the HoDs enacted curriculum leadership and the challenges they encountered varied based on several factors such as the HoD's commitment, management and leadership skills, knowledge about curriculum design, and the department context. Among the challenges encountered were the lack of senior management support, unfavorable work conditions, the high rate of middle managers' attrition, and the lack of formal professional networking and liaisons with industry . The study has concluded that TVET HoDs in developing countries highly value professional development programs that seek to improve their curriculum leadership competency. The study findings show that professionally supported middle managers and teachers can demonstrate improved curriculum design and leadership practices that contribute to the improvement of the curriculum internal and external consistency. The reported improved curriculum design practices and curriculum consistency in this study can be attributed to several factors such as the multiple forms of the professional support provided to both the HoDs and teachers, the application of systematic and relational curriculum design practices, and the consideration of certain contextual constraints. The findings suggest that TVET HoDs need both professional and organizational support so as to demonstrate effective curriculum leadership. Based on the study findings, a curriculum leadership competency model for TVET HoDs in developing countries is proposed . The model pictures curriculum leadership competency as the integration of three competency domains: curriculum design, management, and leadership. The model also highlights the importance of attending to the context where curriculum leadership is practiced.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Voogt, J.M., Supervisor
  • Pieters, J.M., Supervisor
Award date26 Aug 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3940-1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2015


  • METIS-311226
  • IR-96806


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