عنوان مقاله [English]
Fostering adept human resources capable of addressing the demands of the labor market and society is a fundamental goal of higher education institutions and universities. Curriculum programs, serving as the primary conduit for transmitting knowledge to students and forming the bedrock of a substantial portion of university education, play an indispensable role in shaping competent graduates adept at executing their job responsibilities. This objective can be achieved by designing and implementing well-aligned curriculum programs that cater to societal needs and conditions. Among the pivotal considerations in curriculum design is the significance of innovation and revision in curricula, alongside the synchronization of content and pedagogical methods with evolving circumstances. Revision and change are inseparable concepts from the curriculum. Nowadays, implementing modifications has become a daily reality in educational systems and educational revitalization sectors of various countries. These curriculum transformations, serving as the core of educational systems, must harmonize with society's emergent needs; otherwise, a decline in curriculum quality is inevitable. The recognized importance and compelling need for curriculum revision in the national higher education framework cannot be overstated. As society and industries evolve, it becomes crucial for educational institutions to adapt their curricula to meet the changing demands and requirements of the workforce. However, despite this pressing need, the practice of reviewing, adjusting, and enhancing curricula is often neglected within existing curriculum frameworks. However, curriculum revision holds a special significance, particularly in Iran. The University of Applied Science and Technology, tasked with providing skill-focused and professional higher education, is not exempt from this need; it's entrusted with cultivating skilled human resources aligned with predetermined visions and goals. Consequently, heightened emphasis on curriculum revision is requisite. The established curriculum structures and processes are often deeply rooted and resistant to modifications. This resistance can stem from various factors, including bureaucratic hurdles, lack of awareness about the necessity of curriculum revision, and the fear of disrupting established routines and traditions. This study delves into the investigation and identification of factors affecting and affected pertinent to curriculum revision within skill-based higher education programs in the nation.
This study adopted a quantitative approach and utilized a descriptive-survey methodology. The statistical cohort consisted of curriculum planners from comprehensive scientific-applied universities across four provinces: Tehran, Isfahan, East Azerbaijan, and Razavi Khorasan. Employing purposive sampling, a total of 66 individuals were selected as participants. These curriculum planners hold responsibility for crafting curriculum programs and have actively participated in curriculum design efforts. Given the absence of standardized questionnaires in this domain, a researcher-developed questionnaire was constructed based on theoretical foundations and prior research. The questionnaire comprised 17 queries and employed a Likert-type scale ranging from "no effect" to "very high effect," each assigned scores from 1 to 5. The questionnaire's formal validity was ratified by six curriculum experts, while its reliability was assessed through Cronbach's alpha, yielding a coefficient of 0.85. Data analysis employed Fuzzy Dematel and the Smart PLS software. The selection of the fuzzy approach stems from its ability to address uncertainties and ambiguities present in respondents' verbal responses. Consequently, employing the Fuzzy Dematel methodology, which necessitates a suitable linguistic spectrum for data collection, becomes essential. As a result, the initial presentation included an analysis of curriculum planners' responses concerning the influence of factors in each province. Subsequently, the designed model, utilizing the most influential factors for each element, was validated through the Fuzzy Dematel method employing structural equations and the Smart PLS software. The Fuzzy Dematel method is presented in the form of determining cause-and-effect relationships among influential factors in five steps, which are as follows: Step 1: Creating a measurement system for the relationships among factors. Step 2: Creating a matrix of direct relationships. Step 3: Normalizing the matrix of direct relationships. Step 4: Creating a matrix of direct and indirect relationships. Step 5: Calculating the overall sum of rows and columns.
The findings unveiled common affecting factors across the four provinces - Tehran, Isfahan, East Azerbaijan, and Razavi Khorasan. These encompass the alignment of curriculum with national human resource development policies, the imperative of curriculum adaptation and enhancement, the need for quantifiable course objectives, the significance of practical internships in refining student competencies, curriculum responsiveness to job requisites, and congruence with student admission criteria in various fields of study. Similarly, shared the affected factors across the mentioned provinces included course titles aligned with objectives and employable professions, practicum course guidance by centers and instructors adhering to the curriculum, synchronization of course outlines with contemporary technologies and sciences, and coordination between associate and bachelor's degree levels. The findings underscore the need to base curriculum design on problem-solving-oriented learning, critical thinking, and experiential learning to enhance skill acquisition, job responsiveness, and overall curriculum effectiveness. In essence, simulating classroom environments or conducting classes within industrial and workplace contexts can facilitate the realization of these objectives. Regarding the affecting factors in curriculum revision in each of the studied provinces, it can be stated that different prioritization in each province indicates the importance and necessity of focusing on curriculum alignment in higher education. This is because factors such as cultural and social diversity, human resources, available natural and non-natural resources in each province, the job market needs of the province, the diverse attitudes of individuals in each geographical region, and the stakeholders of curriculum revision, all play a role in guiding curriculum changes and revisions in each province. In order to adapt the curriculum goals to the required skills and professions of each province, the curriculum designers need to take these factors into account in the process of changing and revising the curriculum in each province.In general, factors affecting curriculum are considered prerequisites that must be taken into account during curriculum revision. Derived from perspectives of curriculum planners, these factors act as prerequisites for the affected factors in the curriculum, and as a result, focusing on effective factors leads to the reinforcement of the affected factors. For this reason, special attention to effective factors in enhancing, improving, and revising the curriculum of each province should be a considered by curriculum designers. In the present study, the findings extracted from the perspectives of curriculum designers serve as a roadmap and guiding light for the officials of the University of Applied Science and Technology in revising curriculum programs. Therefore, it is expected that the findings will be utilized for the purpose of correcting, improving, and reviewing the curriculum programs.