The current environment is being driven by new innovations and knowledge. Today the world is experiencing tremendous growth, technology changes, new opportunities, and higher risks. The society is full of challenges in diverse workplaces. To address the challenges, there is a need to have increased collaborative partnerships and social networking. Due to all these changes, there is a debate of there should be curriculum review.
Why curriculum review?
It’s important to recognize that the current education system needs drastic and timely changes to cope with the situation at hand. There is an urgent need to act accordingly. A good education system must be aligned to prepare the teachers with skills that are required for our future generation. The social and family structure has undergone fundamental changes over the last few decades. The family structure has changed from joint family to nuclear family. More towns have emerged.
There are also changes in the market, jobs, and businesses. The industrial manufacturing economy has moved to a service economy which is being driven by information, knowledge, and innovation. The living standard in every house is now changed with a variety of electronic appliances like mobile phones, computers, and washing machines among others in the majority of households.
There have emerged new and different skill demands. The range of job obligations is changing. Many offices need highly educated and knowledgeable workers with the ability to innovate new ideas and be able to respond to complex problems and communicate effectively. Workers, who can embrace teamwork, manage data, information and produce new knowledge.
Can all these be facilitated by the 50, 30 and 20 years old curricula?
How should the curriculum be reviewed to meet the students’ needs?
There should be an exit strategy from the factory-model, top-down, and follow-the-rules type of curriculum. Also, textbook-driven, teacher-centered, paper and pencil curriculum needs to be discarded. A new way of designing and delivering the curriculum is required. A different new way of accepting the concept of knowledge is needed.
Below are suggestions on how to restructure some components of our education system.
The curriculum should include certain critical skills to be developed in the learner. It should involve different areas of knowledge, be project-based, and analysis driven. A project-based curriculum is aimed at engaging learners in addressing real-world problems. It should connect the learner to different levels of communities, be it local, national or international.
The curriculum is supposed to include higher order thinking skills, multiple intelligence, technology, and multimedia. Learners should work both independently and interdependently and be self-directed. The curriculum should connect the students ‘interests, experiences, and talents to the real world.
The curriculum and training should be designed in a way that will challenge all students and provide differentiation between different capacities of understanding. The curriculum may be content or textbook-driven, but need to be holistic. Textbooks should just be one of the many resources. Knowledge should not be memorization of facts or figures but should be constructed through one own effort and application.
Curriculum review should be a continuous process. The review will move from memorized information and disconnected processes to exhibition of understanding through application in different contexts. Continuous and timely assessment with the aim of providing feedback will result in learning improvement. A portfolio should be the tool of assessment.
The curriculum should incorporate the use of technology. Today‘s students are digital learners. They can literally filter the world at the comfort of their computing devices. They take their cellular phones, handheld gaming devices and laptops everywhere. Computers, televisions, and game soothe them at home. Although the students understand how to access these gadgets, they may not be technology literate.
Knowledge is increasing rapidly every day. Knowledge and wisdom is the key to success, thus education can play a vital role. The future of every individual or a country largely depends on how much that country is investing in its education system today. Creating an education system that prepares students for emerging lifestyle, changing social structure and new world economic order is a challenge in this decade. Addressing this challenge needs forceful and forward-thinking headship from educational policymakers at the local, national and international level. Indeed, periodical curriculum review is important.