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Learning for employability in contexts of economic despair: Empirical insight from the Gaza Strip

Almassri, Anas

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Abstract

Literature on education for employment (EfE) predominantly focuses on the role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in preparing students for the workforce. This focus covers links between employability, on one hand, and teaching, curriculum, assessment, and extracurricular activities, on the other. The role of independent learning, broadly understood as students’ individual effort to enhance their employability, remains masked and is assigned secondary importance in the relevant literature. This scholarship deficit is arguably more pronounced in contexts of economic despair. In such contexts, an EfE logic still supersedes any logic of learning for employability (LfE) in efforts to train a high-calibre workforce for economic recovery and development. Yet, this logic is often accompanied by decontextualized views of HEIs, which often lead to suboptimal problem formulations and unfeasible solution proposals. The study is an attempt at addressing this deficit. It proposes a parallel, not alternative, logic of LfE, which centralizes students’ independent learning engagements to examine and develop support for their own pursuits of employability development. The study draws on original empirical data collected, through a questionnaire and in-depth interviews, from new graduates in the Gaza Strip. Through interpretive phenomenological analysis, the study findings suggest that the participants exerted significant, independent, and strategic effort in seizing employability development opportunities. Based on the findings, I contend that a learner-centred logic of linking education and employability is of compelling significance to various stakeholders in the education and market spheres, especially in contexts of protracted hardship.

Citation

Almassri, A. (2023). Learning for employability in contexts of economic despair: Empirical insight from the Gaza Strip. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 14(1), 220-236. https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2023vol14no1art1711

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 31, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 2, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Nov 7, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 7, 2023
Journal Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability
Print ISSN 1838-3815
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 1
Pages 220-236
DOI https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2023vol14no1art1711
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1899023

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