Developing a curriculum for an institute or university is a complex task that needs in-depth knowledge, expertise, and collaboration. However, what if the purpose of developing a curriculum is for institutional amalgamation, would it be more difficult? The answer is, yes! Please read on to know some important points that you need to consider.
The curriculum is the heart of the school. Touching it (in terms of revision, reconstruction, expansion, among others) would mean changes that may be beneficial or detrimental to all its stakeholders. Thus, careful strategic planning coupled with innovation and international benchmarking through research and development must be conducted first.
International benchmarking is important because of the pressing issues and trends worldwide. Many countries now are in a dilemma as to how they will cope with the changes brought about by the knowledge-based economy and the 21st-century education. Issues like institutional amalgamation, global communities of learning, accreditation, world university rankings, outcomes-based education, and the future of higher education (globalizing higher education) are today’s buzzwords. If a country or the Commission on Higher Education would like to be at par with other countries that have a world-class education, then a need for innovative curricular landscaping and architecture must be made now!
However, before any enhancement or change in the curriculum, ask yourself first: what is the primary purpose of developing a curriculum? If the purpose is to unify a curriculum for institutional amalgamation with global standards, the following tips can help you a lot:
1. Philosophy, Vision, and Mission of a University
It is important for the governing body or the authority in a university to come up with its vision and mission. For example, if a big private company owns many institutes and universities located in one place, then, there must only be one philosophy, vision, and mission for all the combined schools.
2. Outcomes-based Education, Institutional and Programs Accreditation
Institutional and program accreditations nowadays are based on outcomes. There are national and international accrediting bodies that look at the outcomes (what students can do) to address the needs of the global communities of learners in the 21st century. This means that the curriculum, particularly at the macro level must have international standards. A curriculum committee can benchmark and decide which international framework suits to their stakeholders’ needs.
In some countries, unless approved by the Curriculum Development Committee (CDC), teachers are not allowed to use textbooks or any instructional material. So, it is appropriate to select textbooks from credible publishers, preferably with international recognition, to guarantee that the books comply with the criteria set by the CDC. Some publishing companies provide books that suit the learning outcomes of the students, they can customize the books according to the preferences of their clients. Having prescribed textbooks is advantageous because it gives many freebies in terms of discounts, training and support to the administration, faculty, and students. A university can save, and at the same time, earn much money if the books to be used by all students are the same.
4. Levels and Streaming, and Exit Point
Placing students according to their levels of proficiency is also given importance in the development of curriculum. Some countries spend much money by buying licenses to assess students’ proficiency level, and aptitude test scores. Personality test scores can be included (in some cases) to place the students at their appropriate levels. Likewise, the exit point must be also determined to make sure that they already possess the outcomes expected from them when they finish their degree or course.
In conclusion, developing a unified curriculum for amalgamation will only be possible if it serves the purpose of organizations governing it, and it addresses the needs of its stakeholders. The curriculum must be developed and designed according to the philosophy that academic institutions believe in and adhere to. This view will help them craft their vision and mission, and help them come up with the curricular programs through research and innovations. However, there is no perfect curriculum. There are skeptics about it, but if the curriculum is well-planned and manned by a team of experts in curriculum development and subject areas, the proposal will succeed. It will likely to succeed if a pilot testing be conducted first, to determine its viability, prior to its implementation.
Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., Javier, R. B., (2008). Curriculum development. Quezon City, QC: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.