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ERIC Number: ED353635
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Barely Competent: Against the Deskilling of the Professions via the Cult of Competence.
Bates, Richard
The competency movement, or "the cult of competency," is critiqued in this paper, which argues that the movement is less concerned with the complex facets of competence than it is with a technology of specific knowledge and application. Educational institutions have several message systems through which objectives can be achieved: pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, and social discipline. The culture of competency is a current mechanism through which certain changes in the education professions are being advocated. However, the culture of competency is not an educational or professional movement, but a managerial movement resulting from industrial and economic panic. The goals are not broad educational goals that incorporate the diversity of social institutions such as the professions, but the systemization and subordination of those agencies. Three major objectives of the competency movement include the convergence of general and vocational education, a focus on performance rather than knowledge, and the enhancement of efficiency and productivity through the elimination of waste. The movement's likely effects on the four message systems include a redefinition of students and professionals as workers; a standardized, nonnegotiable curriculum; assessment based on measurable, technical outcomes; and the extension of surveillance mechanisms linked to economic models. Constraining the open-ended nature of professional activity may well produce the very opposite of what is wanted--not true competence, but a competency-based system in which professionals operate at the basic skill level. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A