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Training Tools for Curriculum Development. A Resource Pack
Core Modules


Activity 1: Approaches to capacity building

  1. Approaches to capacity building

  2. Capacity building of curriculum professionals as a requisite for reform

  3. Teacher involvement in capacity building


In any given context, the process of curriculum change requires stakeholders to develop shared visions and common understanding of educational aims and curriculum objectives. These shared understandings should serve the diverse learning needs of students as well as the broad national goals of socio-economic and cultural development. Capacity building is a central part of the development of these shared understandings.

Education systems are large and complex organizations which require different competencies in their employees. Many capacity building activities can be generic. However, the specific needs of individuals and groups need to be addressed through targeted activities based on relevant cases, evidence-based success stories, and focussed experiential learning activities.

The main groups in which capacity building might most often be required include national education policy-makers, local education policy-makers, curriculum specialists, teachers and teacher educators. These groups will often require assistance to develop the capacity to perform the following functions:

Table 6.1. Capacity building needs.

National education policy-makers
Local education policy-makers
  • develop curriculum frameworks;
  • define curriculum objectives;
  • create a supportive policy environment;
  • provide resources support and guide their strategic utilization;
  • make and implement decisions;
  • evaluate and monitor the quality of curricula.
  • implement national curriculum standards in local contexts;
  • develop locally relevant curriculum;
  • provide technical assistance for curriculum change for poverty-stricken areas;
  • provide guidance and professional support for school development.
Curriculum specialists
Teachers and teacher educators
  • design holistic curriculum content relevant to students’ development in cognitive, affective, moral/ethical, aesthetic and physical dimensions;
  • integrate cross-cutting themes and facilitate inter-disciplinary teaching-learning;
  • build on strengths of traditional curricula and be innovative;
  • ensure relevance to culturally sensitive curriculum issues;
  • engage in research-based and professional development on a continuing basis.
  • understand their changing roles as curriculum changes;
  • comprehend curriculum objectives and national curriculum standards;
  • master subject matter and pedagogical skills to deliver subject-specific content;
  • have a positive attitude to curriculum change and be an agent of change;
  • break down isolation and develop team spirit;
  • engage in continued professional learning and development.

In many contexts, the professional development of teachers occurs in three phases:

  • preparatory or pre-service training before they begin teaching in schools;
  • induction, during the initial years of teaching, often the first three years; and
  • in-service training which will occur throughout a teaching career.

To be most effective, each of the three phases of development should be aligned, building on the lessons of the previous phase and the professional experience of the teacher. Professional learning communities such as professional subject associations offer opportunities for mutual support and mentoring.

Similarly, the capacity building should be an ongoing process, not a one-off “injection” of training. Teachers need to update their knowledge and skills as the school curriculum and technologies change. Individuals develop in stages and mature over time. Professional development of teachers must be accompanied by organizational development in schools, training centres, and universities. A recent trend in capacity building is toward school-based training, making school/classroom practice the site for professional development.

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