Student employability: challenges and implications for Early Childhood Studies degrees in higher education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper presentation is triggered by the current U-turn in higher education (HE) shifting away from being academic to student employability, especially in the context of economic recession as a result of the Covid pandemic. Early childhood Studies programmes have faced this challenge too with decrease in student recruitment across universities in England. Higher education has become more and more driven by neoliberalism focusing on cost effectiveness with academic orientation being weakened in the areas of education, social sciences and humanities. This may have threatened academics’ efforts and democratic vision of what higher education aims for. Early childhood pioneering thinking that education leads a key role in developing human beings to be ‘creative and intelligent thinker’ (Froebel 1887) alongside critical, participatory pedagogy (Freire 1972) might have been endangered with the immediacy of student employability in HE. Drawing on our professional reflection on our working experience in HE as well as a critical review of current debates about early childhood, we hope to create space for professional dialogues with colleagues including academics, researchers and students in HE to interrogate challenges we all face in the 21st century and consider implications of student employability for Early Childhood Studies programmes in HE.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 28 Jan 2022
EventEarly Childhood Studies Degree Network conference 2022 -
Duration: 28 Jan 202228 Jan 2022


ConferenceEarly Childhood Studies Degree Network conference 2022
Internet address


  • employability, professional reflection, creative critical thinker, neoliberalism, early childhood professionalism, freedom of education

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