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Training Tools for Curriculum Development. A Resource Pack
Core Modules


Activity 1: Rationales for promoting a change

  1. Rationales for promoting a change

  2. Actors and context for change

  3. Design of consultation processes

  4. Advocacy before educational authorities

  5. Hints for planning a consultation process

  6. Sensitive issues


This activity should help participants identify a set of possible reasons for promoting a change in educational policy at any level, as well as to assess the degree of relevance and sensitivity of the chosen rationales, including the points of view of other participants.

Task 1 - Group reading
Read the following extract. One spokesperson per group of 6 participants. The participants will have their own printout in order to follow the reading.

The enhancement of educational quality and relevance is the all-embracing rationale behind curriculum change. Such change is also driven by the need or desire of nation states to affirm cultural identity or heritage and to pursue their own socio-political and economic goals and aspirations. In different countries a range of rationales are employed to guide and chart the course of educational reform and curriculum change.

Among the more common rationales given for curriculum change are:

  • Promotion of humanistic, moral, ethical, value-orientated education;
  • Development of healthy, responsible and skilled citizens;
  • Preservation of local tradition, appreciating and respecting cultural diversity in an era of globalisation;
  • Maintaining social stability, national identity and cohesion;
  • Social, civic and economic reconstruction following regime changes, wars or conflict;
  • Promotion of economic growth and improvement in the living standards of the population;
  • Reduction of socio-economic inequalities and addressing social justice concerns;
  • Enhancement of international competitiveness and global integration.

Task 2 - Pair work

  1. Read the case study “The case of the 2003 curriculum reform of higher education in Uruguay. Consider the possible rationales for curriculum change listed above:
    • Which of these apply to the Uruguayan context?
    • Which apply to your country/national situation?
    • What other rationales are important in your situation? (For example, rationales drawn from religious, moral, cultural or human rights perspectives).
  2. Refer to the worksheet “Possible rationales for curriculum reform” and:
    • read the list of possible rationales;
    • write any additional rationales which you have identified for your context on the blank cards;
    • list the rationales in order of importance/relevance that you think these play in on-going or proposed curriculum changes in your country;
    • list the rationales in order of sensitivity for your context.

Task 3 - In a small group

  1. Report: Each pair explains to the group how they have listed the rationales for their context.
  2. The group discusses an agreed list, trying to avoid excluding items too early.

Task 4 - Plenary session, non-interactive
Panel show: Agreed lists are posted on a wall and the whole group is invited to go through them in silence, taking notes.

Task 5 - Small group discussion
Each group revises the proposed agreed list of rationales.

PRODUCT 5: Revised group proposal of rationales.