Where do we start with education reform?
Every child, and adult for that matter, has incredible potential. But if they lack access to a decent education or technologies that could link them to important knowledge and information, their potential will never be fully realized.
The human mind is the seat for learning. The more useful information someone can learn, process in meaningful ways, and then apply to life, the better their ability to effect change. This is why education is a fundamental human right, and it should ideally be of the highest calibre. But quality is relative.
The state of the educational system today is such that it has been the subject of budget cuts (i.e., public schools) or turned into a big business catering to the elite, losing sight of its basic goal of educating people holistically and fostering critical thinking in order to win at this game called life.
The need for curriculum reform
Whether they be societal, economic, environmental, or health-related, modern societies face new challenges today. The effects of climate change and resource depletion call into question our consumption patterns, the advancement of artificial intelligence and new technologies cast doubt on our traditional ideas of what constitutes work, and the ongoing process of globalization involves migration, urbanization, and a rise in diversity that shapes nations and economies.
If students in schools continue to learn the same things that their parents were taught, they will not be adequately prepared for a future that is more uncertain and marked by rapid change. However, there were moral lessons our parents learned that helped build communities that have evaporated into thin air and need to find their way back into the classroom. Education is not only information but ethics and personal development.
If human beings are to evolve emotionally, intellectually and ethically, and we must advance society in a direction that is sustainable and not morally corrupt. Courage and action are needed to do so. Fear, which is a by-product of ignorance (the lack of information) or blatant misinformation aka propaganda (much of our current curriculum), is the root cause of many current social problems, especially complacency and inaction.
A vital step toward a socially and intellectually advanced future is education reform, which aims to reform public education in terms of what is being taught and how that is practiced in real life. Reforming the way and what we educate could easily address issues concerning poverty, gender, class, ethnicity, and the overarching theme that is inequality.
What do we mean by curriculum reform?
Improvements in education typically begin with curriculum reform.
In simple terms, curriculum refers to a “plan for learning.” Curriculum reform refers to the process of making changes to or updating the curriculum with the goal of improving the significance and effectiveness of teaching and learning.
For teaching and learning to be significant and effective, they must be meaningful to the student and responsive to the needs of the times. This means that with curriculum reform, learners will ideally be better able to think critically about the many issues confronting the world today and to actually know how to address them.
What are the advantages of education reform?
Many global changes have led to a rise in the number of nations considering curriculum reform as a means of preparing students and equipping them with the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed for the future.
Although there aren’t a lot of successful large-scale curriculum reform examples, The Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 (LSS) is widely considered as a good model showing the advantages of curriculum reform.
Launched in 2014, it serves as a guide for education reforms in preschool, primary and secondary education, higher education, and adult learning.
It mandates a focus on the following:
Development of learning abilities and creativity
Training of capable and driven educators and school administrators
Creation of opportunities for lifelong learning that matches the demands of the labour market
Ensuring a digital-centred approach and equal access to lifelong learning
With the achievements of the LSS, Estonia’s Ministry of Education and Research has been planning a strategy for 2035 with the end goals of producing:
An inclusive society of welfare and shared values
A competitive and sustainably growing economy
A viable and strong Estonian culture and language
Successful education reform begins with changes in the curriculum. For example, rather than focusing on the number of subjects covered per level, a more in-depth approach to teaching core subjects may be adopted, with an emphasis on the relevance of these subjects to life and society today.
A well-rounded education that incorporates objective science curricula, a stronger emphasis on the arts, and, of course, a history curriculum that teaches events as they actually occurred rather than the whitewashed, “patriotic” version the educational system currently employs are all necessary parts of curriculum reform.
Factors affecting curriculum change
There's a range of factors affecting curriculum change. Meeting the demands of 21st-century learners in both structured academic settings and corporate learning centres depends on several elements.
Designing a curriculum entails selecting learning objectives, devising information delivery mechanisms, and developing individual and group progress evaluation techniques.
Governmental standards (e.g., budget allocation) impact curriculum creation, which then influences other variables. The social, financial, and psychological diversity of the target population must also be considered for curriculum change to be effective.
For curriculum change to be relevant, it not only requires the involvement of the government and educational establishments, but also the participation of teachers and learners. That's mean you. You can help improve how educated our communities are.
Are you ready to take action in driving education reform in your own community?
Tough Convos can help.
Let’s have a talk to get started.