It seems the battle for the superior curriculum in our schools will not wane. You see schools in Nigeria brandishing their usage of British/American curriculum while ignoring the Nigerian curriculum, for instance.
As schools continue to proliferate, the word ‘curriculum’ constantly gets distorted. I recall in an interview, an applicant said to me and I quote “I’ve used the British curriculum before. Is it not what the colonial masters left behind after independence, that is what Nigeria uses till date, isn’t it?” I was stunned!
There will be no need to define the word here. We have our dictionaries and the internet for that. I am just going to pen down a few of my thoughts and experiences and hopefully, as many educators that are willing and given the opportunity can get back to the drawing board and consistently stay very close to it.
I have never seen a written document called curriculum for the early years, 0-5 years for the Nigerian education system. It probably exists but I haven’t seen it. I spent all my teaching years using the English National Curriculum. I have seen the Early Years Foundation Stage document, let’s call it the curriculum. I have read it, implemented it and can talk about it. I have also seen the document for the primary years, I have read it, implemented it and can talk about it. I have seen the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) primary school teaching scheme, which they call the curriculum. I have read it and implemented it in some subjects and can talk about it.
A lot of people think that a mathematics curriculum, for instance, is just addition and subtraction of two-digit numbers let’s say for year 1. Yes, that could be a part of it but the curriculum is far more than that.
An intended curriculum will include ensuring that the thinking process of getting a two-digit numbers is secure. It will care about how two-digit numbers affect a child’s daily life. If a child’s house number for instance is 48, the child will need to understand what house 48 means in a street.
It may also lead her to know how many houses she has to go through to get to hers and probably how many more to get to the end of the street. She will need to understand how many tens are in 48 and how many ones. She will be intentionally guided through the different numbers that can be combined to make 48 and in what forms they are combined.
Working around this will be systematic. The integration of all these in the learning outcome will encompass the curriculum. The idea is that the curriculum developers have consciously set these targets to be achieved. The teacher is expected to ensure that learners achieve them too.
In the international curricula, my observation is the intentional way depth of knowledge is emphasized.
The more the mind is exposed, the more there are questions. The more questions, the more answers; the more answers, the more implementations. As we implement, more problems arise, then the cycle continues.
Education is intended to solve the problems around us. If what we are learning is not improving our lives, are we not wasting our time and resources?