The Meaning and Importance of Curriculum Development

importance of curriculum development

This article expounds on the definition of curriculum development. It also describes the importance of curriculum development in school, country, and society, in general. Read on to fully understand the meaning and importance of curriculum development in nation building.

A curriculum is considered the “heart” of any learning institution, which means that schools or universities cannot exist without a curriculum.

Before I discuss the importance of curriculum development, let me describe to you first the meaning or definition of curriculum. The meaning and importance of curriculum development is discussed in more detail in two separate sections.

Meaning of Curriculum Development

Given the importance of curriculum development in formal education, the curriculum has become a dynamic process due to the changes that occur in our society. Therefore, in its broadest sense, curriculum refers to the “total learning experiences of individuals not only in school but society as well” (Bilbao et al., 2008).

Curriculum development is defined as planned, purposeful, progressive, and systematic process to create positive improvements in the educational system. Every time there are changes or developments happening around the world, the school curricula are affected. There is a need to update them to address the society’s needs.

Curriculum development is the planned, purposeful, progressive, and systematic process to create positive improvements in the educational system.

The Meaning and Importance of Curriculum Development 1

To illustrate this contention, let’s trace back history.

A reconstruction of Smilodon fatalis, a saber-toothed cat that lived on earth about 10,000 years ago (Modified from an illustration by Dantheman9758 at English Wikipedia CC BY 3.0).

People taught their children knowledge and skills to survive by catching fish or hunting animals for food during ancient times. They had no formal education during that time, but their children learned and acquired the knowledge and skills for survival.

During that time, they already had a curriculum that other educators call as, the saber-tooth curriculum. This type of curriculum refers to a kind of curriculum that existed during ancient times in which the purpose of teaching was for survival.

However, when the effects of discoveries and inventions became inevitable, ancient people’s way of life had changed for the better. As a result, education became formal, and curriculum development evolved as systematic, planned, purposeful, and progressive.

Natalie Rivera recommends reading the book “The Saber-Tooth Curriculum” for a better understanding of how curriculum evolves. See the video below.

Importance of Curriculum Development

Curriculum development has a broad scope because it is not only about the school, the learners, and the teachers. It is also about the development of society in general.

In today’s knowledge economy, curriculum development plays a vital role in improving a country’s economy. It also provides answers or solutions to the world’s pressing conditions and problems, such as threats to the environment, issues on politics, socio-economic problems, and other issues related to poverty, climate change, and sustainable development.

There must be a chain of the developmental process to develop a society. First, the school curriculum, particularly in higher education, must be designed to preserve its national identity and ensure its economy’s growth and stability. Thus, the president of a country must have a clear vision for his people and the nation.

For instance, in the Philippines, if President Aquino wants the country to become the Asia-Pacific’s tourism hub, then the school curriculum must be developed along that line. Curricular programs for higher education can be crafted in such a way that it will boost the tourism industry in the country.

To illustrate further, different models may arise, such as edu-tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, medo-tourism, biz-tourism, techno-tourism, agri-tourism, archi-tourism, among others.

If universities have innovative curricular programs and demand in the local or global markets, many students, even from foreign countries, will enroll. A higher number of enrollees would mean income on the part of the universities.

As a result, if the income is high, it can be used for teachers’ promotion, scholarship, and remuneration. It can also be used to fund research and development endeavors and put up school facilities, libraries, and laboratories.

I believe that the country’s economy can improve people’s way of life through curriculum development. And to develop it, curriculum experts or specialists should work hand in hand with lawmakers such as senators and Congress members, the local government officials, governors, and mayors. Likewise, business communities and industries and other economically oriented players in society may be engaged in setting and implementing rules and educational reform policies.

Hence, curriculum development matters a lot in setting the direction of change in an organization, not only at the micro but also at macro levels. As long as curriculum development goals and objectives are apparent in the planner’s mind, cutting-edge achievements in various concerns can be realized.

At this point, the meaning and importance of curriculum development is clear to you.

For additional information on curriculum development, I condensed the contents of primary textbooks on curriculum development in my eBook on Curriculum Development. See a brief description of the eBook by clicking on the e-book.

curriculum development handbook
BUY NOW for only PhP149.95 Handy reference on curriculum development.

For more example on curriculum development, please read Edecolepmentalism: a Personal Philosophy of HIgher Education, and Translating the Edecolepmentalism Philosophy Into a University’s Vision, Goals, and Program Objectives.


Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., and R. B. Javier (2008). Curriculum development. Philippines: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2014 December 13 M. G. Alvior | Updated: 12 January 2024


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