Quality-driven university curriculum reform in Zimbabwe: a critical conceptualisation of harmonised minimum bodies of knowledge
The surging demand for higher education in Africa for expedited socio-economic growth and global sustainable development demands customising gains made elsewhere for local benefit through quality provision. This study contributes to local and international discourses on the refinement of results-based university learning content determination on the lines of the Bologna Process, and advocates the development of situationally relevant curricula for successful national advancement in Zimbabwe.Design/methodology/approachThe qualitative study uses records and documentary analysis, interviews and meetings with key participants involved in shaping academic processes at one of the country's young and fragile universities. The introspective research approach enabled the cumulative experiential and reflective contributions of participants to shape both the dialogue and follow-up action on the adoption of minimum bodies of knowledge in university curriculum reform.FindingsParticipants celebrated efforts to pit harmonisation alongside autonomy in academic discourses, and suggested improvements on the mechanisms to define policy and operational frameworks for diversely-oriented academic establishments. They lauded and interrogated the discourse around minimum bodies of knowledge, calling for further critical research and analysis for defining clarity on its harmonisation function.Originality/valueThis paper traverses the rapidly expanding Zimbabwe higher education system's endeavours to regulate mandates and operations, in pursuit of relevance, quality and excellence and examines stakeholder efforts at determining streamlined university curricula. It contributes uniquely to collective regulation of multiple institutions towards quality academic agendas that underpin the life-long competences of the institutions' graduates.