Why accreditation?

We intend to co-create an international accreditation or certification system for masters courses that take a pluralist approach to economics. We are doing this due to the lack of progress towards pluralism in economic teaching since the Crash highlighted limitations in mainstream models. This is inspite of the student movement demanding change.

A pluralist approach to teaching should foster innovative and creative thinking about how we organise our economies to address the huge social, environmental and economic challenges we face. It should undercut the economic groupthink that constrains our ability to think outside the box and contributed to the mainstream not 'seeing the Crash coming'.

We believe our scheme will build a stronger international movement taking a pluralist approach to teaching economics, raise the profile of masters courses around the world that are taking a pluralist approach and help build wider momentum for change in the teaching of economics.

We will work with academics, students, employers and others that understand the value of a pluralist approach to teaching economics.

We will be launching an international online dialogue to do this in the next few weeks.

How we are doing it

Although there has not been much change in mainstream economics departments generally with some notable exceptions, there are many innovative masters courses outside economics departments. They are often seeking to take a pluralist approach to teaching – see here for many we have identified or have been indicated to us so far.  We have probably missed many so do consider adding any we have that you know about.

These courses may be called political economy, sustainable development, psychology of economic life etc as well as economics. All focus on economic issues but bring a range of economic and other disciplinary perspectives to understanding them.  Many of these are in leading Universities.

We are starting by focussing on masters courses as this seems to be where innovation is occurring and agreeing criteria for accreditation should be more straight forward than for undergraduate courses. We intend to extend the scheme to undergraduate courses next once the scheme for masters courses is well established.

We will co-create an accreditation system with these innovating academics, with students, employers and others that recognise the value of a more pluralist approach to economics. We seek to establish a common framework for pluralism, minimum standards and assessment processes.

We are not trying to establish what the ‘right’ economics is or which course is better than another course.   This is more like the Forest Stewardship Council certification system that indicates whether wood comes from a sustainably managed source. The accreditation scheme will just indicate whether a course is considered to take a pluralist approach to teaching. Nothing more.

Our initial stakeholder working group has proposed basic requirements for economic teaching which is pluralist: recognition of a range of thinking on economics, supporting critical awareness in students of different schools of thought and focussing on real world issues. We will be testing and building on this proposal over the next year or so with a wider set of stakeholders before finalising the system.  If you want to be involved, sign up here.

We are also seeking to build influential public support for this initiative. See here for our supporters so far and consider adding your name.