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Summary of discussion: IBE side event on Repositioning Curriculum in Education Quality & Development-Relevance



The central role of curriculum must be at the heart of the post-2015 education and development landscape. Yet, what is needed is a root-and-branch audit, assessment and evaluation of the curriculum, in terms of its purpose, content and associated skills and values, in every country that is serious in its commitment to achieving the targets associated with SDG 4 and the entire post-2015 Sustainable Development agenda.

Summary of discussion: WEF Side Event: 21 May 2015, Incheon, Korea


Main points raised by moderators and panelists:


Ms. Camilla Crosso

Curriculum entails putting into action legislative/normative transformations; it is where transformation is taking place; the role of curriculum in transforming individuals; how curriculum call for students that have been left out; how to bring in the curriculum the students’ perspectives and voice; how students and teachers can engage in critical thinking through effective curriculum development process; the recognition that curriculum is a disputed/ contested space; the importance of curriculum flexibility; need to overcome the “straight curriculum jacket” (i.e. revisit time of instruction)


Ms. Mmantseta Marope

Series of discussion points regarding the repositioning of curriculum in the Education Agenda 2030: the crucial role of curriculum as a concrete/operational mechanism (type of competencies required) to give effect to the national development aspirations and efforts; (curriculum at the crossroads of multiple expectations / demands coming from diversity of stakeholders; curriculum cannot be left out of the SDGs as it is crucial to give effect to them; curriculum should be in the conversation about forging a systemic vision of quality education and of the education system; curriculum is a powerful force for mainstreaming technology; the informal curriculum is much more ahead than the formal curriculum; the curriculum should facilitate equity and ensure personalized learning opportunities and experiences; curriculum is a powerful to life-long learning policies; curriculum should be horizontally articulated across different levels of the education system; curriculum needs to be flexible and packed in a way that facilitate learning.


Mr. Jan van den Akker

Curriculum entails direction and plans for learning; it encompasses the intended, implemented and attained curriculum; consistency among curriculum components visualized as a spider’s web; mixture of the 3-S for curriculum development: subject, society and student; no curriculum change is possible without teacher development; successful change benefits from a combined approach (top-down and bottom-up); assessment should follow curriculum; we all need curriculum thinking.


Mr. Khalifa Ali AlSuwaidi

Curriculum is a contract between society and teachers; the UAE Vision 2021 is based on education as a fundamental element for development; UAE use international standards to gauge where UAE is now and where aspires to be in 2021; the current UAE reform implies transformation of the education system and the teaching methods with the view to shape a new learning environment and culture; the reforms pursue the integration of technology in education in and out of school; by 2021 all schools will incorporate technology in the curricula; it is a mean for students to become smarter; follow-up studies on the reform evidence an increasing confidence of teacher using technology; also teachers point out that technologies increase the quality of education and student’s motivation to learn.


Comments from audience and feedbacks from moderator and panelists:
Excessive pressure on exams provoke that teachers teach for the exams; curriculum is a highly political matter (including those of identities); take into account relevant issues that are not captured by the international standard exams; students are being left aside in education and curriculum reforms; the need of a stronger interaction between curriculum development and assessment; overcome loose coupled components with no systemic vision; exams hijack curriculum; the tensions between relevance and responsiveness; the risks of an additive approach over-decorating curriculum like Christmas trees, leaving core functions of education out of the curriculum; the gaps between the designed and implemented can provoke a diminished effect of the curriculum; the need to strongly position curriculum in the national development dialogue; political economy of the curricula will always be present; curriculum should serve to an equitable and truly inclusive society that celebrate diversity; curriculum is sometimes a barrier to a better future for the students; it is really a disaster to separate curriculum from assessment.