module offers opportunities for curriculum professionals to develop
their understanding of policies and processes of system management
and governance by exploring:
- Possible models for managing curriculum development and implementation
with particular attention to processes of curriculum localization;
- Some modalities of regulation and control in education systems:
- keeping balance between centralization and decentralization,
- school-based management of the curriculum,
- localization of curriculum in national and local specific
contexts in view of ensuring greater responsiveness to local
needs and realities,
- different concepts of decentralization: devolution, de-concentration,
decentralization of decision-making;
- Opportunities and challenges of the broader involvement of
stakeholders (local government, civil society, parents and local
community) in curriculum development and implementation.
Two activities have been selected:
- A balance of national and local needs and interests. Helps
in reflecting the set of needs and interests of different scale
that have to be balanced to achieve an acceptable implementation
of the curriculum.
- Curriculum localization. Challenges and opportunities.
Leads to reflection about the constraints that limit and also
enable localization processes.
Following these activities is a “Resources” section
which contains a list of discussion papers and other resources
referred to in the activities, as well as complementary reading
Education systems are multi-faceted and consist of a number of inter-connected
elements. Curriculum is a fundamental component of any education
system, but its development and implementation relies on other components
of the broader system – such as teacher training, the resources
provided and the ways teachers are supervised. The structures of
education management and governance and the quality of related systems
can therefore influence the quality of the curriculum that is developed
and the effectiveness of its implementation.
Curriculum development and implementation themselves
are processes which require good management – planning, monitoring
and evaluation. At the subject or learning area level, writing syllabuses
is normally the domain of subject experts who can be drawn from
universities, schools or other organizations relevant to the subject
area itself. Their work can be informed by a range of other experts,
such as developmental psychologists, parents, practicing teachers
and, in some cases, representatives of employer groups or industry.
The syllabus writing process, however, also needs
to be coordinated and managed so that the various subject syllabuses
remain consistent in approach and philosophy. Syllabuses should
reflect the same beliefs about how students learn and about teaching
methodologies. They should be similar in format and tone and use
terms consistently so that teachers of more than one subject can
easily access the information and guidance which the syllabuses
Therefore, what are the best ways to manage these
System Management may be defined as the process of planning, implementing,
monitoring and evaluating the various parts of a system. In education,
these parts can include strategic and operational planning, human
and financial resources, teacher education and accreditation, curriculum
and student assessment.
Traditionally curriculum has been centrally determined
and the expectation of central authorities is that students across
the system will be taught the same thing the same way and often
at the same time. While this approach might give the perception
of control over the quality of teaching, it does not guarantee that
the needs of individual students and of local communities are met.
The concept of governance refers to the ethics of an organization
and the professional conduct of its employees. Good governance is
important in education systems because it ensures that systems focus
on delivering what is best for students and society.
There has therefore been a trend in curriculum development
to more genuinely acknowledge the social and economic needs of local
communities and individual groups within society by decentralizing
curriculum, in effect by allowing local authorities and schools
to develop their own curriculum. This approach also has its risks,
particularly in the degree to which:
- the quality of curriculum can be guaranteed,
- the risk of “factionalism” can be reduced, and
- national goals and priorities will be pursued in a consistent
If these risks are managed well, decentralization
of curriculum development can offer many benefits. For example,
it can increase the democratization of education by granting local
stakeholders greater autonomy and participation in curriculum design,
implementation and evaluation consistent with the achievement of
national goals and standards.
Decentralization in education is the transfer of authority to regional,
provincial and local levels. The interdependencies of related educational
organizations cannot be simplified into a hierarchical structure
or "solved" via a "top-down" approach.
The diverse modalities of decentralization may include:
- the devolution of power and authority from a higher to a lower
- wider sharing of educational management and governance functions,
- broader participation in decision making processes, or
- increased local autonomy in limited policy or management issues.
In some cases this trend has led to significant change
in the bureaucratic structure of ministries of education. For example,
decentralization may mean the devolution of administration and implementation
functions from central to regional, provincial or local levels (administrative
The remainder of this section focuses on decentralization
as a contemporary trend in system management and governance, particularly
in relation to curriculum processes. Decentralization has the potential
to foster the development of localized curricula which directly
address a diversity of local (sub-national) cultural and socio-economic
realities. The final section explores opportunities, issues and
challenges presented by decentralization and localization of curricula
through individual case studies.
Curriculum for Special Cultural Communities, Decentralization, Devolution
of Power, Educational Management, Empowerment, Governance, Local
Capacity Building, Localization of Curriculum, Participation, Curriculum