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Students demand revamping of economic curriculum that aligns with current global issues

Posted by Hannah Walker in

After the financial crisis in 2008, university students have placed significant pressure on institutions to change and re-structure the content of economics courses. Consequently, faculties across four continents will now be implementing a new economics curriculum. Prominent economists, including Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, supports the revamping of economics curriculums as there is a shared belief that a wider range of economic theories is necessary if the following generation are to avoid making similar mistakes prior to 2008. Students argued that the courses failed to teach pressing global issues such as inequality and global warming. Further to that, they criticised professors for being too apprehensive about teaching a wide range of economic theories, and thus focus remained mainly on neoclassical models, which ultimately failed to explain the cause of the financial crisis. Robert Johnson, president of INET, said: ""There's a problem that undergraduate courses don't reflect the research of senior economists. There's also an issue that the examples that we use in textbooks are often based on US data and institutions and don't produce much excitement elsewhere, particularly in the emerging economies. We're trying to address that."

Economic departments all over the world including London, Paris and New York are addressing the issue and have consequently rolled out a test syllabus to start this academic year. The syllabus will be drawn from the CORE project, which is led by Wendy Carlin, who is a professor at University College London. CORE's website now possess an interactive online textbook that places emphasis on data and economics history, with many students expressing positive feedback about it. However, some still think that the ebook still does not provide a wide variety of methods to economics problems. Professor Carlin stated that, "[The curriculum] frees up face-to-face time in class for discussion. This leaves more time for applications to policy and empirical problems in class," Prof Carlin said. "In the past weeks, our first users at two US universities have found the medium very attractive." The finished version of the e-book is expected to be done by the 2016 academic year.

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