The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) in 2008, took a decision to undertake a thorough reform of the Lower Secondary Education Curriculum. The Lower Secondary Curriculum,
Assessment and Examination Reform Programme (CURASSE) aims at shifting from an old tried and trusted model of Secondary Education to a broader and more inclusive curriculum that can satisfy needs of different abilities.
The underlying philosophy of the reform is “A holistic Education for personal and national development”. The programme scope covers Curriculum, Assessment, Special Needs and Inclusive Education (SNE and IE), Instructional Materials development, Guidance and Counselling, Inspection and Teacher Support programmes.
Background of the reform
Over the past 30 years, the lower secondary curriculum has only been changed by adding content. In spite of new subjects and new content being added, important major areas remain excluded. Some key areas in the sciences such as earth sciences, an area of emerging economic significance, have no mention. Recent reform efforts took the approach of attempting to reduce the overall number of subjects, mainly by grouping existing ones. This has not been satisfactory, in part because there has been little consensus on what should be removed from the curriculum to lighten individual subject load.
The current curriculum is outdated in its strong emphasis on subject content at the expense of learner acquisition of marketable skills and competencies. Through the years many changes have taken place, arousing a need for education and need to be addressed. These include democracy education, HIV and Aids, health education, environmental education, financial literacy, and interactive skills.
The national legal and policy framework, coupled with the commitments to international conventions, the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All targets, provides a clear rationale for a reformed curriculum. A radical shift within the secondary education sub-sector is required; from a curriculum that was initially designed for an elite minority of elite children bound for positions within the public service, to a curriculum that allows every learner to develop understandings and skills according to his or her ability. The reformed curriculum will provide each and every learner an opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes as envisaged in the 1992 White Paper and to achieve appropriate recognition for their attainment during their time in school.
A Curriculum Situational Analysis and a Labour market survey were carried out at the start of this programme in 2012. The findings from these studies are guiding the reform process.
The objectives of the reform
- To promote effective learning and acquisition of skills
- To address the needs of all students and lay the foundation for improved pedagogy and assessment procedures which allow learners to more effectively realise their full potential and demonstrate their achievements
- To address the social and economic needs of the country by meeting the educational needs of learners who will take jobs in the world of work, become self-employed people or pursue academic studies beyond senior four.
- To allow flexibility to absorb emerging fields of knowledge in a rapidly-changing world
- To reduce content overload by specifying a realistic set of expected learning outcomes with a range of essential generic skills at the heart of the curriculum