Curricular Changes in Higher Education in Mexico (2002-2012)

Frida Diaz-Barriga, María Concepción Barrón


Based on the analysis of 1241 documents published in Mexico (2002-2012) concerning curriculum studies, we findthat the issue of innovation was addressed in 6 out of 10 research papers that focused on the higher education level(60.4 %). It shows an increase in empirical research, quantitative and qualitative, that accounts for the process ofimplementation of innovative curriculum models and recover the experiences of his actors. There is still apredominance of neoliberal discourse and a vertical approach in curricular reforms, the "top-down curriculum design",but there are also examples of active agency of actors (mostly teachers and students), ranging from acts of resistanceand rejection, to proactive experiences in their academic communities based on the organization of groups of teachersor researchers who took a leading role and achieved successful experiences related to the needs of their context. Thelack of a systemic change approach, and especially appropriate teacher training processes, are the main obstacle toeducational change prescribed in the curricular reforms in Mexico. In higher education are two important issues: thecompetency based education approach and the curricular flexibility. In both terms prevails polysemy, and there are noconsistent attempts to innovation through them in the sense of changing conceptions and practices in the classrooms.The competencies approach suffers a “pedagogical vacuum”, and in some curricular reforms it has tried to fill inseveral ways, primarily the adoption of business models or neo-behaviorists conceptions transferred to universities.The flexible curriculum is not only a technical issue, because of its implications in the management and administrationof universities, as well as in school practices and processes. There is evidence that the most important problems in theirimplementation concerns legal aspects, academic organization and operation, as well as by the lack of mentoring andacademic mobility of students and teachers.

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Copyright (c) 2014 Frida Diaz-Barriga, María Concepción Barrón

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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