Education for actuarial quality

15 Jan 2010

This paper is located in the field of actuarial professional education. It draws on current literature and empirical evidence to argue the need for developing generic ‘normative’ capabilities and values in the actuarial profession. The paper examines three themes of normative education for actuaries—the intended purpose of an education programme, the range of capabilities and values to be developed and educational ‘best practice’. A literature review of normative education in various professions provided a theoretical framework for data analysis, and for making recommendations. Data were collected from three sources: interviews with stakeholders; documentary evidence regarding current education of actuaries and accountants; and advertisements for employment of nearly or newly qualified actuaries. The paper draws on the literature and the empirical evidence to argue that the purpose of an actuarial education programme is to ensure the delivery of a service of quality. For this delivery to be achieved, attention must be given to technical, normative and organisational learning. The paper then reviews normative capabilities and values for actuaries. Thereafter, educational considerations for the development of normative capabilities and values are discussed. The paper concludes by drawing on the study to outline principles to guide curriculum planning for the normative component of the new South African actuarial qualification.