Problem Statement: To Iranian policy makers, higher education plays a key role in realizing the country’s development visions. This has led to the mapping of visions of higher education in upstream resources. In this regard, curriculum is an essential tool for higher education to fulfil its functions optimally. However, despite its significance, the clarification of the missions of future curricula is almost entirely neglected in Iran as the subject of research.
Purpose of Study: This study aimed to clarify the missions of future curricula of Iranian higher education based on the visions of the country’s higher education on the horizon of 2025 (Iran’s 20-Year Vision Plan).
Research Methods: The present research was developmental in terms of purpose, and was conducted through a combined exploratory method in the academic year 2014-15. The qualitative method was used to analyse the qualitative content of the upstream resources (e.g., artefacts and policy documents) as well as interviews with 14 experts from higher education. In addition, the quantitative method was used to collect data from 338 faculty members and PhD students. In this research, the data obtained from qualitative content analysis of the interviews was used to build the questionnaire.
Findings: Findings indicated that the emphasis on research and technological functions, alongside that of education and service, pursues the goal of translating the knowledge acquired in the country into product. The results also revealed that, the approach to future curricula is society-oriented, and the accountability to the society should be at the centre of strategies of curriculum development.
Implications for Research and Practice: The present study emphasized making Iranian universities more mission-oriented and aligned with the realization of higher education perspectives as well as the realization of sustainable development through following the established missions for the curriculum.
Keywords: Higher education, missions of future curricula, sustainability, upstream resources, visions of higher education