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A competency-based approch to cooperative higher in a knowledge society

The emerging knowledge society is one of the main reasons that underlie the appearance of the interactive combination of learning and working in higher education. Universities will be able to benefit from knowledge-intensive organisations when they become knowledge productive partners. The coop education system can be an important instrument in developing knowledge networks in which universities and organizations participate. Though there are several other drivers for cooperative higher education (the early introduction to a complex job market and the influence of recent educational psychology), this education form raises a lot of questions in the Netherlands. The fear for the loss of academic level and autonomy of the university-programmes inhibit the acceptance of dual academic education. Based on a literature study and secondary analysis of evaluation and policy studies with relation to dual academic education, the drivers for the development of coop higher education as well as the factors that inhibit the acceptance of coop higher education, are being distinguished. To further the conceptualisation of the coop system, a competency approach of higher education may play an important role. The advantage of competencies over traditional content descriptions is that such competencies can partly be

developed and achieved outside the traditional university premises, in an authentic work environment. The competency-based curriculum of the master-programme on Human Resource Development at the University of Twente explores the possibilities that such a curriculum could have for the dual academic education system.