School curriculum devoid of national philosophy

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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KATHMANDU: Curriculum Development Centre, which is devising the 9 to 12 Grade curriculum under the School Sector Reform Plan, has not received any national policy to guide school education.

In principle, political leaders provide policy inputs and experts translate the policy into curriculum and subjects. However, political leaders have shown little interest in the issue.

Only CPN-UML leader Chaitanya Sharma showed up at the policy input discussion called by the CDC in July last year though representatives of all parties were invited, according to Dinanath Gautam, CDC deputy director.

Bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education and CDC officials are busy preparing the policy unilaterally. They are changing the current stream-wise XI and XII Grade courses into generic to ‘meet international standards’.

“Political leaders should broadly decide on content guidelines,” said educationist Bishnu Karki. “The proportion of local content to the national themes should be finalised by political leaders, not by bureaucrats or education experts.”

After policy decision, planning in human resources and infrastructure development comes before curriculum and content, added Karki. In the name of internationalising the agenda, the needs of XI and XII students and required manpower are nowhere assessed.

I/NGOs and various pressure groups are lobbying for inclusion of the contents of their interest in the curriculum. Speaking at a meeting on curriculum revision a week ago, Education Secretary Kishor Thapa admitted that I/NGOs have piled pressure on the government to include the subjects of their interest.

Population, disaster, peace, and climate change are some much-identified topics they want introduced in the curriculum this time, according to Thapa.

“We should have broader policy debates on our national priority,” he said.

Save the Children has pressurised for peace education content, World Wildlife Fund for climate change, United Nations Population Fund for population education and women rights for women rights.

A negligible number of government bodies have responded to the CDC call to contribute suggestions and contents for the new curriculum.Traffic Police suggested that traffic rules be incorporated in the curriculum while National Human Rights Organisation suggested human rights contents.

“No one can impose contents,” said Educationist Bidhya Nath Koirala. “Contents should address the needs of parents, students and locals,” he said. CDC Deputy Director Dinanath Gautam said they would select appropriate content.

(Source: The Himalayantimes: News Compiled and written by Rudra Pangeni)