Education Really Matters: Overview of ‘How Meaningful is Your Curriculum?’

All learners deserve curricular experiences which are relevant and meet their everyday needs. Courses of study should be based on authentic values and benefit both individuals and society as a whole.

The United Nations Sustainable Goal No. 4 stresses the importance of quality education for all.

Let’s make all learners’ curriculum meaningful!

Issues of importance and complexity. Too often, the curriculum being offered to learners is prescribed in a rather top-down, formal and bureaucratic manner. This approach runs the risk of not addressing changing priorities within modern societies and of failing to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of individual learners. What is presented must be relevant and well-targeted on the current and future health and wellbeing of all age groups.

For the few, the many or all? The dominance of WEIRD curricular activities – focused on White and Educated students in Industrial, Rich and Desirable localities – has to be challenged. Policymakers must adopt an inclusive and flexible perspective when planning programmes of study and allocating resources across communities. While appropriate opportunities to specialise are vital, exclusion and snobbery/elitism have to be avoided.

Pressures and spin. Governments, education authorities and politicians are prone to overstate the merits of what is available by way of education and training. Descriptions suggesting ‘world-leading’ and ‘excellent’ qualities abound! In the real world, more critical consideration is called for when evaluating the usefulness of syllabuses and qualifications. What is taught must be based on authentic values and significant to the requirements of both learners and society as a whole.

Improving the curriculum. It is the responsibility of educationalists to encourage and implement effective learning within curricular areas. There is a constant danger of not evolving in step with research, discovery and human creativity. Curricular innovations need to be disruptive in the sense of removing out-of-date procedures and introducing more relevant topics. Contents and presentational methods cannot stand still if they are to remain appropriate, applicable and motivational. All developments should have stated ‘improvement objectives’ which they are expected to meet. In particular, the benefits of new technologies in delivering personalised courses which extend prospects for free and open learning require to be exploited more thoroughly.

Towards better future provision for all. The aim of ensuring that high quality support is accessible to all students to enable them to achieve their true potential is a noble one. However, by no means, is it an easy task. Designing learning pathways within courses to facilitate students of all abilities to achieve success is a key approach towards worthwhile advances within educational communities.

Concluding comments. Curriculums which are genuinely pertinent, coherent and inclusive are of great value across all social groups. Collaborative and integrated enhancement of programmes must continue to discover helpful ways of promoting academic achievements and practical skills. Further steps also should be taken to embrace wider national concerns such as ethics, mental health, citizenship and standards of living.

Reference: For a detailed discussion on improvements required, please see the more in-depth article entitled “Education Really Matters: How Meaningful is Your Meaningful Curriculum?”