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Lesotho weaves core competences into its curriculum for the 21stC

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Lesotho’s curriculum reform promotes an integrated approach that draws together knowledge, skills, attitudes and values from within and across subject areas, to develop a more powerful understanding of key ideas. Curriculum integration occurs when components of the curriculum are connected and related in meaningful ways by both the students and teachers (Alberta Education, 2007). The integrated approach aims to prepare students for the life challenges and contexts in which they are expected to function as an individual and a member of the society. In Lesotho’s Curriculum:
  • 5 Learning Areas have been identified as the ‘warp’ of the curriculum. These outline the knowledge and competences considered necessary to equip learners to address 21stC life and work challenges.
  • A number of cross-curricular ‘aspects' - the ‘weft’ of the curriculum - are integrated into all curriculum areas.
  • The ‘warp’ and the ‘weft’ interweave, and contribute to the development of, core competences.

Together these interwoven ‘areas’ of knowledge, curriculum ‘aspects’ and core ‘competences’ make up the ‘cloth’ of the new curriculum, from which syllabi are then developed. From Grades 1-4 the curriculum is organized by units. From Grade 5-7, it is organized into Learning Areas. From Grade 8-11, different subjects are beginning to emerge. Currently, this reform is being piloted in Grade 10.

This curriculum reform process is inspired by the Chinese educational concept of suzhi jiaoyu, commonly translated as “quality education” (Dello-Iacovo, 2009; Guan & Meng, 2007; Murphy, 2004; Woronov, 2009). Suzhi jiaoyu is conceived in opposition to “exam-oriented education”. Teachers are exhorted to replace transmissional, text-driven, teacher-dominated, exam-centered and mimetic notions of education with more progressive notions that are aimed at the development of the whole child – moral, intellectual, physical, and aesthetic capacities as well as the ability to apply knowledge in practice (Dello-Iacovo, 2009; 1992).
 
Nyakallo Rejoice Molise,
National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) of Lesotho.