Posted By Staff Reporter
Every country is expected to keep up with the times, which has been marked by rapid and dramatic changes in all walks of life and that educational structures, policy and practice require change. Everything must change at one time or another or else a static society will evolve (Fullan, 2001:3).
External Pressures for Curriculum Change
As the world and technology change people and society must also adapt to cope with the new conditions. Because nations and people compete with each other they also strive to gain mastery of new situations and challenges as fast as possible.
Ø Innovation is something planned and something new (curriculum reform).
Ø Change maybe unplanned and happen by chance or in the normal cause of events (dressing).
As we have access to more information on developments of innovations, it is imperative that one needs to adjust or conform to cope with such developments. The developments of innovations are continuing to grow dramatically in the world and accesses to such information are becoming more and more available. People are currently living in the world of invention and development. They are living in a constantly expanding sophisticated technology driven knowledge society. The global society is increasingly complex, requiring educated citizens who can learn continuously, and who can work with diversity, locally and internationally (Fullan, 2001:6). Establishments of networks, partnerships, collaboratives and other agencies do encourage and influence change in the curriculum, for example, AusAid and PASTEP. The spread of computerization and high-tech communication systems such as mobiles and Internet normally referred to as the information super highway also influences work ethics and lifestyles.
Internal Pressures for Curriculum Change There are pressures for the government’s self-image as up-to-date, efficient, professional and responsive to accommodate vast array of dramatic changes experienced in the world today (Pincus in Fullan, 2001:64). Our country receives very bad ratings in relation to special education literature, universal primary education, and gender equity amongst other nations of the Pacific and the world.
The Education Department was under pressure because the old system was only suited to educating a small elite (15%) for the formal workforce and there was poor access for the majority of school age children who live in the rural communities. The old curriculum was not useful or relevant to the majority of the school age children, nor to the wider society. It was often blamed as the factor, which contributed to youth becoming alienated from village society and turning to crime (Primary Education Handbook, 2000:6-7). The retention rate in the old system was very high. Over 40% of students dropped out before the end of grade six. Many more had to leave after Grade 6 and Grade 10 and even fewer were able to secure a Grade 11 place after Grade 10 because there were not enough school spaces for them to continue their education, even if they wanted to stay at school.
The cost structure of the old system was such that the majority of expenditure was on a relatively small number of older students at the top end of the system. There was a high cost just to feed them and house them at boarding schools. The system could not afford to expand access for younger children unless changes were made to the old system. It could not even afford to expand just to keep up with the population growth.
Conclusion There are pressures to standardized knowledge and skills through restructures of curriculum. People can change rules and administrative regulations quite easily but changing the way people behave or perform demands much time and efforts, combined with relevant training and support. Curriculum documents (formal curriculum) can be change more easily than the performance of teachers (actual curriculum). It is seen that change and innovation command the attention of all concerned with education. Marris (1975:2) claimed that all real change involves loss, anxiety and struggle.
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