Bringing About Curriculum Innovations : Implicit Approaches in the OECD Area
MetadataShow full item record
Innovation is essential for the education sector. The ways in which curriculum decision making is organised reflects different implicit approaches on how educational systems pertain to promote innovation in education. Curriculum holds an outstanding place when seeking to promote innovation in education, as it reflects the vision for education by indicating knowledge, skills and values to be taught to students. It may express not only what should be taught to students, but also how the students should be taught. Curriculum innovations can include new subjects, combinations of old subjects or cross-cutting learning objectives. They may also take a form of new content, concepts, sequencing, time allocation or pedagogy. This paper characterises two contrasted approaches to curriculum decision making and bringing about innovations in education. At one extreme, a prescriptive central curriculum implicitly places the initiative for educational innovations at the level of the central administration. This approach provides strong incentives for schools and teachers to adapt innovations that would not otherwise take place. Innovations, supported by policy measures and informed by research, are brought within the reach of all schools and teachers in an equitable manner. The challenge is then to accommodate local needs and ensure the commitment to and implementation of innovations by schools and teachers. At the other extreme, decentralised curriculum decision making provides schools – and perhaps even teachers – with room to create their own educational innovations. This approach allows for experimentation relevant to individual students and local communities. Innovations are meant to spread through horizontal networks of schools and teachers. The challenge is then to provide incentives for individual schools and teachers to innovate or adapt innovations and ensure that they have equal capacity to do so.