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Capabilities, values and education policy

Peppin Vaughan, R; Walker, M; (2012) Capabilities, values and education policy. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities , 13 (3) pp. 495-512. Green open access

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This paper outlines and explores a key obstacle to evaluating education policy using the capability approach. According to the capability approach, education policy should be targeted towards expanding people's capabilities. Values are central to an individual's capability set, because they determine the functionings important to them, and therefore the capabilities which are valuable to that individual. However, it is argued here that education has a more complex function than other areas of social policy, as education is able to influence and transfer values much more directly. How do we examine the relationship between education and the expansion of an individual's capabilities, if at the same time the process of education may directly determine the very nature of the capability set itself? As a solution, a form of education is proposed that would enable students to become aware of the values they hold, and develop them further through fostering critical thinking, practical reason, and access to knowledge, rather than directly imparting values to students. We illustrate this drawing on a recent project on higher education and transformation in South Africa.

Type: Article
Title: Capabilities, values and education policy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Special issue: Education and capabilities
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1576465
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