Tourism education: views from educator and the tourism industry
journal contributionposted on 02.11.2017, 05:43 by Tan, Jacintha, Morgan, Damian
In many fields of university education, there is genera! agreement among academics and professional bodies on the knowledge, skills and competencies required by graduating students (e.g., medicine, law, psychology, engineering, accounting). Further, in many cases professional bodies will not admit graduates from nonrecognized degrees or institutions. This can severely limit or restrict non-accredited graduates' pursuance of careers in these fields. Although professional bodies are commonly accused of using this accreditation to limit the supply of professional (thus driving up the price of their services), this process works to ensure common standards of expertise and competence among those professions. In Australia, an accreditation process has not been implemented for university-based tourism education (although many tertiary level training courses offer hospitality-based accreditation). Indeed, many would argue that such a system is not needed. Nonetheless, Shepherd highlights the inherent problems of current education provision; The tourism and education and training sector has underperformed in the past and the confusing array of qualifications offered across divergent pedagogical systems continues to result in an absence of consistency in the curricula, a lack of mutual recognition of qualifications and competence, and variable standards of delivery (1997:70). Developing an accreditation system for university-based tourism training, agreed to by both educators and industry professional, would go some way to addressing these concerns. However, the adoption of such a system and determining the form it would take has generated many debates among education stakeholders. Central to these debates are issues surrounding the adoption of a core curriculum and determining appropriate content for tourism studies. Following a brief discussion of these issues, this research note presents an empirical pilot study assessing educators and industry professional's views on the keys themes of accreditation, core curriculum and tourism content.