One of the most important activities of the university is the development of curriculum or course outlines in consonance with the national and international demands and realities. For the last few decades, scholars have been raising doubts and questions about the validity of heavy reliance on a subject-centred approach to curriculum development that is dominated by textbook contents. Furthermore, the convergence of academic disciplines in the form of broad field and problem-orientation to knowledge incorporating a variety of theoretical perspectives requires innovative procedures for the development of curriculum. For this purpose, it is imperative that university teachers are aware of modern trends in the development of curriculum.
The key component of any curriculum is its instructional objectives or learning outcomes. To determine the extent to which these objectives or outcomes have been achieved, there is a need to assess students’ learning. Students’ assessment is a very complex task. Teachers often do not have the necessary background to meet its requirements appropriately. Hence, it is also necessary that teachers are exposed to a variety of tools to measure students learning.
Concept of Curriculum
In the past, the term ‘curriculum’ signified a course of studies followed by a pupil in a teaching institution. In the English-speaking tradition it was used as equivalent to the French concept programme d’études. Today, it means in general terms, the contract between society, the State and educational professionals with regard to the educational activities that learners should undergo during a certain phase of their lives to learn something desirable.
Standard dictionaries define curriculum as a course of study offered by an academic institution. According to Ronald Doll, curriculum is the formal and informal content and process by which learners gain knowledge and understanding, develop skills, and alter attitudes, appreciations, and values under the auspices of an academic institution. In other words, curriculum can be defined as the total experience. From this view point, Curriculum is not only the content selected and delivered, but also the planned and unplanned activities in which individuals’ participate as students.
Meaning of Curriculum:
The term curriculum has been derived from a Latin word ‘Currere’ which means a ‘race course’ or a runway on which one runs to reach a goal. Accordingly, a curriculum is the instructional and the educative programme by following which the pupils achieve their goals, ideals and aspirations of life. It is curriculum through which the general aims of a school education receive concrete expression.
Traditional concept – The traditional curriculum was subject-centered while the modern curriculum is child and life-centered.
Modern Concept of Curriculum:
Modern education is the combination of two dynamic processes. The one is the process of individual development and the other is the process of socialization, which is commonly known as adjustment with the social environment.
Definition of Curriculum:
The term curriculum has been defined by different writers in different ways:
- Cunningham – “Curriculum is a tool in the hands of the artist (teacher) to mould his material (pupils) according to his ideas (aims and objectives) in his studio (school)”.
- Morroe – “Curriculum includes all those activities which are utilized by the school to attain the aims of education.
- Froebel – “Curriculum should be conceived as an epitome of the rounded whole of the knowledge and experience of the human race.”
- Crow and Crow – The curriculum includes all the learners’ experience in or outside school that are included in a programme which has been devised to help him developmentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually and morally”.
- T.P. Nunn-“The curriculum should be viewed as various forms of activities that are grand expressions of human sprit and that are of the greatest and most permanent significance to the wide world”.
Principle of Curriculum Construction:
The content of curriculum is determined on the basis of some academic principles which are stated below:
(1) Aims of education and objectivity:
Life is complex. A curriculum should reflect the complexities of life. In other words, in farming the curriculum one should take into consideration the aims and objectives of education.
(2) Child-centric principle:
The curriculum should be framed according to the actual needs, interests and capacities of the child. That means a curriculum must be child-centric as modern education is child-centered.
(3) Principles of civic and social needs:
Man is a social being. He lives in the society. The child develops in the society. Modern education aims at both developments of the individuality of the child as well as the development of the society.
(4) Principle of conservation:
Man has conserved experiences very carefully for better adaptability. Education is regarded as a means of deserving the cultural heritage of humanity. The school serves two-fold functions in this regard- preservation of the past experiences and transmission of experiences.
(5) Principles of creativeness:
Education not only conserves that past experiences of humanity but also helps an individual to develop his innate potentialities.
(6) Principle of forward-looking:
The aim of life-centered education is not limited to the present life-situations in the family and society. Hence, education must prepare the child of shouldering future responsibilities. So in farming the curriculum we must take into consideration the future needs of the child as well as the needs of the society.
(7) Principle of preparation for living:
The children should know the various activities of the environment around them and how these activities are enabling people to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, recreation, health and education.
(8) Principle of integration and correlation:
Subjects should be arranged logically and psychologically in accordance with the child’s developing interests.
(9) Principle of learning ability:
Every item should be learnt. An item should not only be learnable, it should also have utility.
(10) Principle of individual difference:
The curriculum should be framed in such a way that every individual can have opportunity for self-expression and development. The curriculum should be based on the psychology of individual difference, which can meet the complexities of modern democratic society.
(11) Principle of social relevancy and utility:
Subjects should not be determined on the basis of their disciplinary value but on the basis of their intrinsic value, social relevancy and utility.
(12) Principle for utilization of leisure:
Variety of subjects such as games and sports, fine arts, subjects of aesthetic value are to be introduced in the school programme to utilize leisure.
(13) Principle of variety and flexibility:
The curriculum should include such activities and experiences, which may facilitate his normal development. The curriculum for girls should naturally be different from that of boys; boys and girls have different needs and attitudes.
(14) Principle of time:
Relative significance and importance of each subject in the curriculum has to be judged and determined in the light of the time available in the timetable, which is regarded as the mirror of the school programme.
Modern trends in curriculum construction:
1) Digital Diversity
Present age is an age of ICT technology has touched to al the wakes of human life. Technology has made various tasks easy, convenient and of quality. To survive in the concern filed it is necessary for everyone to have a knowledge and skill of technology. Education makes man enable to contribute, it strengthens the capabilities. For the effective transaction of curriculum ICT is must.
Web 2.0 applications must be used for the effective teaching learning process. Curriculum makers should give clear guidelines regarding this. E.g. teacher tube is very useful source for the educational resources. Khan academy.org also provides good videos, lectures and many more which makes learning meaningful, easy and effective. Curricki merlot, K2-12 Hippocamus all these provides educational resources which students can use, edit reconstruct and so on. All these things should be interlined with every curriculum.
2) Need based Curriculums
Researches in all the fields resulted in to specialization. Need based curriculum is the foremost need of the present education system. Many universities are developing need based short term programs for this purpose.
E.g. Mumbai University has introduced courses like – certificate course in Power Point, certificate course in tally, certificate course in marketing, YCMOU- introduced –English communication skills program for Mumbai Dabawala.
3) Modular Curriculum with credit base system
Modular curriculum gives real freedom of learning .especially in the open learning system his approach has been adopted at first but now majority of traditional universities also accepting his system; this is a real emerging trend in the modern curriculum.
4) Online coerces
Need based and choice based curriculums are available online also. E.g. course era .com has introduced many useful need based courses for free of cost. Government also takes initiative for this e.g. Right to Information certificate curse has been introduced by Government of India to the Indian people. This course is free and online.
5) 21st century skills
All the curriculums of various courses should focus on 21st century skills. Skills like collaboration, critical thinking, effective communication, multitasking stress management, empathy are must for all the personals.
6) International Understanding
Globalization has made converted the world in to global village. We should consider world as a one family and for this international understanding must be inculcate through curriculum.
Constructivist approach believes that learner should be given freedom to construct his/her knowledge. Spoon feeding must be avoided. If a learner is fully active in construction of knowledge then learning process will be highly effective. In all the curriculums constructivist strategies must be given important place.
Constructivism, modular curriculum, credit system, Information technology these all are the emerging trends in curriculum development. These trends should be given proper justice while developing curriculum. Educators should learn to work together with their students, and with other experts in creating content, and are able to tailor it to exactly what they need.