of curriculum change are increasingly shaped by the trend towards
greater decentralization of educational management and governance.
In order to reinforce the involvement and empowerment of local communities
and their people, current trends promote decentralization of educational
systems, in particular:
- participation in educational policy making;
- curriculum design and implementation.
A range of technical, educational and political rationales
are most often advanced in justifying the need for decentralization.
These include: managerial efficacy; enhanced quality and relevance
of curriculum content to local cultural and economic realities;
and increased legitimacy of curricula through greater stakeholder
participation in policy formulation. In some cases, local empowerment
may encourage teachers to redefine their roles as educational researchers
and curriculum developers concerned with the specific needs of their
own students. However, the quality of this work will depend on a
number of factors including local capacity.
Levels of socio-economic development, cultural traditions,
the type of political systems, the nature of national educational
management systems and the structure of national curricula all have
an important impact on the scope and process of consultation for
curriculum policy change.
The nature and quality of educational management
systems, in particular, is a key factor in determining the scope
and the nature of decentralization of educational management and
governance. Although differences remain in the degree of decentralization,
many countries have decentralized some elements of their educational
administration and management systems, most often at three levels:
the national, the local (provincial), and the school levels.
A strong central government remains important particularly
for the development of national curriculum frameworks, quality standards,
indicators of school effectiveness, assessment and evaluation systems
to ensure quality. These intersecting frameworks provide broad parameters
within which education processes and products may be shaped to meet
local needs and to secure the support and participation of civil
society including parents and local community. Precisely for this
reason, a strong, if transformed, centralized system can be efficient
in addressing a very wide range of issues. Each context will have
a particular balance between centralization and decentralization
that is appropriate to particular needs.