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Curriculum Development

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CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AS A POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL ACTIVITY BY ALFRED FAYOSE

Introduction In the views of Marsh and Willis (2007) curriculum development is “a collective and intentional process or activity directed at beneficial curriculum change”. Curriculum development involves making basic decisions as to who will partake in the curriculum decision-making process and how it will proceed (Adentwi and Sarfo, 2009). The decisions made, however, are both political and technical depending on the individual stages. The stages of the curriculum development process include planning, designing, implementation and evaluation. Curriculum development as a political activity Curriculum development can be considered as partly political because the planning stage of the curriculum development process is said to be a lay political activity. Curriculum planning, especially at the national level is considered to be a political activity due to the reasons below. First and foremost, curriculum planning is designed to ensure adequate representation of the opinions of all the major stakeholders in education. In curriculum planning, the emphasis is on the interest of the people who matter most in education. For instance, teachers, students, parents and religious bodies among others who are stakeholders are represented at the planning stage not because of their competence or technical know-how but because of their interest. Furthermore, the government of the day seeks to promote its economic and political development agenda through education. The government would always want the curriculum or the educational system to be in line with their political manifesto, hence their participation in the planning process. Again, the government as a major financier of public education would want to get value for its money. In addition, the various stakeholder groups compete among themselves in order to get their agenda into the national curriculum. These stakeholders compete among themselves by articulating their views, making cases and seeking the support of other representatives in the course of their deliberations.

Curriculum development as a technical activity Curriculum development is also considered as partly technical because the design stage of the curriculum development process is said to be a technical activity. Curriculum design, especially in a centralised system is considered to be a technical activity due to the reasons below. First and foremost, the curriculum design process involves making technical decisions with regard to the instructional programmes of the school. This stage of the curriculum development process is undertaken by experts drawn from relevant areas so far as school instructional programmes are concerned. Pratt (1980) for instance believes that curriculum design work should be undertaken by experts in the following six core areas:       subject matter, pedagogy, measurement and evaluation, curriculum design, organisational skills and technical writing

In addition, the design process requires working out the fine details of the national educational plan for the purpose of implementation in the school and classroom on a day to day basis. The outputs of the curriculum design process include materials and guidelines for actualising the national educational plan obtained during the curriculum planning stage. These materials and guidelines include syllabuses, text books, lesson note books, academic calendar and school time table among others. These materials and guidelines are considered as the fine details of the national educational plan. Conclusion Curriculum development involves political decision making at the planning stage and technical decision making at the design stage. Again, membership of the curriculum planning team is based on representation of interests and opinions where as that of curriculum design is based on technical competence. Therefore curriculum development is partly political and partly technical. References Adentwi, K. I. and F. K. Sarfo (2009). Curriculum Development: An Introducton. Asafo Kumasi: Willas Press Limited. Marsh, C. J. and G. Willis (2007). Curriculum: Alternative Approaches, Ongoing Issues. (4th ed). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson, Merril Prentice Hall. Pratt, D. (1980). Curriculum Design and Development. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc.

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