The role of curriculum in fostering national cohesion and integration : Opportunities and challenges
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Curriculum planning emphasizes that education should serve to enable society to achieve its needs and aspirations. One such need in Kenya, which has remained largely elusive, is national cohesion and integration. Research has revealed that education contributes to the development of social capital by increasing individual propensity to trust and be tolerant. Learning as a social activity has a strong influence on the development of shared norms and the value placed on tolerance and understanding within a community. This paper discusses the relationship between education and cohesion. It explores the contemporary conceptualization and practice with respect to the place of national cohesion and integration in the school curriculum. The paper argues that the gap between the intended, implemented and achieved curriculum is too wide, and this especially undermines the affective domain, which is the mainstay of providing learners with opportunities to practice cohesion and integration. The paper further discusses the extent to which the current school curriculum is designed to foster national cohesion and integration, and evaluates achievement of this intention suggesting that the school policies and context do not empower learners with attitudes that facilitate cohesion. Finally, the paper explores the opportunities and challenges that exist within the school curriculum to foster national cohesion and integration.