The curriculum in higher education challenged (project)

The need to rethink traditional approaches to curriculum design

Project description

Higher education has a unique opportunity to provide learning for the future and help the world to address the rapidly unfolding social, cultural, economic, demographic and technological challenges of the 21st century. Higher education all around the globe is facing considerable expectations from the society at large. Those expectations are slowly becoming imperatives: the imperative of internationalization, of innovation, of employability, of global citizenship and democratic culture, of sustainability, of inclusive learning, of community engagement… In order to equip the graduates adequately, those imperatives have to be translated into learning outcomes and integrated in the curricula. Facing those challenges entails the strategic and innovative rethinking of traditional approaches to curriculum design and delivery.


  • Raising awareness of the critical role curriculum design and delivery plays in the changing higher education landscape;
  • An exchange of different approaches and practices to curriculum design and delivery in the light of the changing higher education landscape: how to internationalise the curriculum, how to design and deliver an inclusive curriculum, how to embed employability, sustainability and democratic values in the curriculum. The aim is to obtain modernised curricula designed and delivered in such a way that all graduates upon completion have acquired the abilities and capabilities for work and life in a complex and rapidly changing world;
  • Developing more collaborative partnerships and exchange of knowledge, experiences and innovative practices at the national and international level with regard to curriculum design and delivery.

Target groups

  • Higher education institutions
  • Programme directors responsible for the designing of curricula and the quality of teaching and learning
  • Academics and professionals
  • Quality assurance agencies
  • Students
  • Policy makers
  • Employers
  • Senior management of higher education institutions for education and quality

Prioritised themes

  • Curriculum design: how to design a curriculum embedding internationalisation, sustainable developments, strengthening the teaching-research nexus, embracing an inclusiveness, fostering democratic citizenship, employability and innovation skills, ..;
  • Curriculum delivery: blended learning, open and online education;
  • Student centred learning: students as partners in teaching and learning and as co-creators of knowledge;
  • Innovative pedagogies: problem-based learning, inquiry based learning;
  • Innovative assessment methods;
  • Innovative teaching and learning models to achieve engaged student learning;
  • The link between curriculum design and delivery and the quality and relevance of programmes.


  • A preparatory meeting of experts in the field of curriculum design and delivery resulting in a background document setting the scene for the peer learning activity (PLA);
  • PLA (1) involving the target groups of the Flemish higher education system and international peers from the ministries and HEIs; the aim of the PLA (2) is to exchange knowledge, experiences, practices and new approaches with regard to curriculum design and delivery; the PLA will generate discussion and analysis around the themes and topics mentioned above;
  • A final dissemination conference involving the whole Flemish higher education community.

Milestones and indicators

  • A background paper on curriculum design and delivery: March 2017;
  • An international workshop on curriculum design to discuss the background paper on May 2ond
  • The peer learning activity on curriculum design and delivery: November 2017;
  • Report of the PLA: February 2018;
  • The final dissemination conference: 1st semester 2018.

Project management

For the Flemish Education Council: Isabelle De Ridder  - Carine De Smet
Involved expert: Noël Vercruysse, ministery of education, Flemish Community/Vlaamse Gemeenschap

Steering group

President: Cis Van Den Bogaert (Flemish Interuniversity Council)

For the Flemish Education Council: Isabelle De Ridder - Carine De Smet
Involved experts: Noël Vercruysse, ministery of education, Flemish Community, Axel Aerden (Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders -NVAO)

Members: Piet Verhesschen (Flemish Interuniversity Council), Isabelle Melis (Flemish Interuniversity Council), Bart Hempen (Flemish University Colleges), Tine Aelter (Flemish University Colleges), Rachelle Dubois (student union), Maxime Leurquin (student union), Hugo Uvin (trade union), Hilde Willaert (trade union), Emel Kilic (socio-cultural partners)