Professional Education, Capabilities and the Public Good: The role of universities in promoting human development, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Professional Education, Capabilities and the Public Good

The role of universities in promoting human development, 1st Edition

By Melanie Walker, Monica McLean


224 pages

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This book innovatively explores how universities might be engines of reform and be directed towards social change. Using rich case studies drawn from South African research, the book comprehensively provides a myriad of new perspectives on what constitutes a set of appropriate public-good professional capabilities that will translate successfully into contributions to human development. It challenges universities to produce professionals who have the knowledge, skills and values to improve the lives of people living in poverty in urban and rural settings. It covers issues such as:


    • Conceptualising Public-Good Professionalism
    • Global Issues and Professional Education
    • South African Debates about Higher Education
    • Institutional conditions and professional education arrangements
    • Social Constraints on educating ethically aware public professionals


By drawing on an approach that focuses on differing public-good professional capabilities in five professions, this book produces a crucial new framework for the preparation of professionals relevant to the global study of higher education policy. It expands higher education’s contribution to global social justice beyond a concern with human capital, administering a challenge to higher education internationally to address human development in the 21st century.

This book will be of great interest to all scholars of higher education involved in higher education studies, comparative education, and development studies. It will also prove valuable to policy makers, higher education leaders and lecturers and graduate professionals in diverse organizations.

Table of Contents

Part I Higher Education, The Public Good and Professionals 1.Higher Education in a Global Context: Working for the public good 2. Capabilities-Based Public-Good Professionalism Part II Context, Theoretical Framing and Methodology 3. History, Inequalities and Context: South African universities 4. Professional Capabilities, Educational Arrangements and Social Conditions: A new research design 5. Dialogic Stages of Public-Good Professional Capabilities Index Part III Applying a Public-Good Professional Capabilities Education Index 6. Participants’ Conceptions of Professional Work in South Africa 7. Pedagogical Environments for the Production of Public-Good Professionals 8. Universities and Social Conditions: Constraints on public-good professionalism in South Africa 9. Public-Good Pathways to Poverty Reduction

About the Authors

Melanie Walker is Senior Research Professor in the Research Institute for Higher Education and Human Development at the University of the Free State, South Africa. Formerly Professor of Higher Education at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Monica McLean is Professor of Education in the School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK.

About the Series

Education, Poverty and International Development

This series of research-based monographs and edited collections provides new analyses of the relationships between education, poverty and international development. The series offers important theoretical and methodological frameworks for the study of developing-country education systems, in the context of national cultures and ambitious global agendas. It aims to identify the key policy challenges associated with addressing social inequalities, uneven social and economic development and the opportunities to promote democratic and effective educational change.

The series brings together researchers from the fields of anthropology, economics, development studies, educational studies, politics international relations and sociology. It represents a unique opportunity to publish work by some of the most distinguished writers in the fields of education and development along with that of new authors working on important empirical projects. The series contributes important insights on the linkages between education and society based on inter-disciplinary, international and national studies.

Sharp, critical and innovative studies are sought that are likely to have a strategic influence upon the thinking of academics and policy-makers. They may include critical syntheses of existing research and policy, innovative research methodologies, and in-depth evaluations of major policy developments. Some studies will address topics relevant to poverty alleviation, national and international policy-making and aid, whilst others may represent anthropological or sociological investigations on how education works or does not work within local communities, for households living in poverty or for particular socially marginalised groups. Preference will be given to studies with a comparative international approach although some single-country studies will be considered, where they raise interesting theoretical and policy issues with clear relevance for international audiences.




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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
EDUCATION / Organizations & Institutions
EDUCATION / Research