Curriculum development is a concept that has attracted a lot of discussion in respect to the way it can be appropriately defined. According UNESCO and IIEP (2006), there is no single definition of curriculum development. Most definitions focus on the syllabi and learning materials. The broader definitions consider that curriculum is concepts that include other factors within and outside the school systems.
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Traditionally, curriculum was referred to as a group of courses that formed part of the school’s education program. This refers to the approved courses that have to be accomplished so that a student can be promoted to the next educational level.
As the world continues to modernize its education systems, various definitions have been developed to explain the concept of curriculum development. Therefore, curriculum can be defined as the organization of sequences of learning outcomes. The sequences are entrenched in the education system of a country, and are aimed at achieving quality education (UNESCO and IIEP, 2006).
Schools and colleges have designed curriculums to develop the skills of students. This is aimed at achieving various professional requirements in the changing modern world. Therefore, the need for superior skills has contributed to the need for curriculum development in education systems worldwide.Curriculum development has been described as the process of planning aspects that are taught within an educational institution.
Curriculum development is done to match the school courses and programs to the skills of students (Hedden, 2012). The aim is to develop a curriculum that provides educational sustainability in the long run; thereby achieving the goals of national development.
Curriculum development focuses on major and minor topics and courses that contribute to the students’ career development. Curriculum development refers to a wide range of discussions by different professions and organizations that make decisions concerning learning experiences. Such decisions need to be integrated in a national, regional, or local education system to ensure sustainable development (Braslavsky, n.d.).
Curriculum development varies from country to country. The process can be controlled from a national level by the ministry of education or individual states as the case in some federal countries (Braslavsky, n.d.). Centralized countries usually apply a top-down approach in the development of curriculum. In this regard, the curriculum is presented to teachers who, once they adopt it, should teach the learners. Eventually, the curriculum is evaluated by all the parties concerned.
According to Braslavsky (n.d.), the society can control the process of drive curriculum development. This is referred to as the bottom-up curriculum development. The responses collected by teachers and other education officials are evaluated, and standards are set to develop the curriculum further. This system is mostly used by decentralized governments.
Professional organizations that influence curriculum decisions
The curriculum being developed should address the issues of relevance, sequence, and integration in a given community’s set up (Stabback, 2007). Therefore, the process can be influenced by various professional organizations that ensure that the curriculum meets the diverse, fundamental, national, economic, social, communal and personal objectives without any form discrimination.
The organizations are usually composed of individuals from a common profession or specialization. Over the years, these organizations have actively participated in curriculum development to ensure sustainability of education institutions. This is done with the aim of expanding knowledge and skills to students (Hedden, 2012). Some organizations that influence curriculum development include: Accountants Association, Professional Engineering organizations, and the National Councils of Teachers.
|American Accounting Association-AAA||http://commons.aaahq.org/files/0b14318188/Pathways_Commission_Final_Report_Complete.pdf|| |
|National Council of Teachers of Mathematics||https://www.nap.edu/read/5844/chapter/5|| |
Curriculum design and development
The process of curriculum development involves the design and development of integrated plans for learning, how to implement and evaluate the plans, and checking the outcome. Designing the curriculum involves critical analysis of the teaching and learning framework.
The purpose of the design stage is to elucidate certain action plans for achieving the curriculum objectives. The process is done professionally and technically to avoid any overlap between the topics and the course. This results to the development of syllabuses that focus on certain areas or subjects.
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The ultimate result of the process is usually a coherent flow of topics regarding the courses offered in education institutions. Curriculum development ensures that students receive integrated and coherent learning experience that contributes towards personal, academic, and professional learning experience (Stabback, 2007).
Various steps are involved in the process of designing and developing curriculum. These steps are majorly followed when a new curriculum is required, or when curriculum reforms are indispensable. Curriculum development involves step-by-step contextual scan and research of relevant best practices.
Consultations with various stakeholders followed by development of a curriculum framework are conducted before syllabuses are accepted. The accepted plans are then implemented, and proper monitoring is established to check whether everything concerning the curriculum is accurate. The review and amendment of the contents is necessary for the whole process to succeed.
The process is systematic and has a clear focus on sub-systems to avoid disastrous outcomes and waste of resources. Having a systematic process in the development of the curriculum enables the elimination of any potential loop holes. At the same time, this articulates the international standards benchmarks (Stabback, 2007).
The role of technology in curriculum development
Technology plays a great role in curriculum development around the world. Over the years, technology has played a significant role in the world education curriculums. This has been viewed as the greatest improvement that curriculum development has ever witnessed. Computers have become a means of information delivery where web curricula and online modules are the common technologies that have positively transformed curriculum development (Ali, 2008; Scholl, 2001).
Technology has supplemented the delivery of learning resources due to the growing number of publication and technological breakthroughs in research. Today, technological advancement offers standardized instructions and learning environment that is familiar and can be accessed from any destination (Ali, 2008).
This has resulted in greater satisfaction amongst learners since they can share and access common resources. Technology has also reduced the time spent for curriculum development in a considerable manner as compared to the previous ways of curriculum development. Efficiency has also been achieved in the development of the curriculum as compared to traditional methods that required a lot of time (Scholl, 2001).
School-wide Curriculum development initiative
The Ministry of Education is charged with the responsibility of undertaking extensive curriculum research. This is aimed at collecting relevant responses about what should be changed, introduced, or done away with to improve the curriculum.
This involves consultation from parents, teachers, education officials, administrators, and professional bodies among other stakeholders. The findings are then submitted to the special curriculum review committee that analyzes the process before agreeing on the areas and subjects that need to be addressed.
Proper measures are established to ensure that the plans are implemented. In addition, proper checks are instituted to evaluate the progress of the plans (Braslavsky, n.d.). The close monitoring of the process facilitates further amendments to the curriculum.
The major challenges experienced during curriculum development can be classified into three categories. This includes internal, social, and external challenges. With regard to internal challenges, the curriculum development experiences the challenge to conform with the requirements by the ministry.
These requirements are important to the schools. The culture usually impacts the process, demanding for changes that recognize its values and norms. External forces may also prevail in curriculum development to ensure that the proposed curriculum addresses issues of international concern such as health, science, and human rights (Stabback, 2007).
Curriculum development is a complex process that requires commitment of the organization responsible and the various stakeholders. The process should be conducted with transparency and systematically so that the outcomes of the whole process become credible.
The curriculum developed should embrace modern developments in technology. It should also adhere to the internationally accepted standard of an efficient curriculum. This ensures proper integration of the education system of the country.
Ali, I.I. (2008). Role technology & educational research in curriculum development. Web.
Braslavsky, C.(n.d). The Curriculum. Web.
Hedden, H.B.(2012). Professional and trade organizations. Web.
Scholl, F.J.(2001). Case studies: Using Technology to Improve Curriculum Development: The Technology Source Archives The Technology Source Archives at the University of North Carolina. Web.
Stabback, P.(2007). Guidelines for Constructing a Curriculum Framework for Basic Education.Presented at the Regional Workshop “What basic education for Africa?” Kigali, Rwanda – 25-28 September 2007 UNESCO-IBE. Web.
UNESCO and IIEP.(2006). Guidebook for planning education in emergencies and reconstruction. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning.