We have addressed two of the three factors that influence the process of developing a curriculum – the ideology of schooling professed by the planners, and the individuals involved in the process of elaboration. The third factor to examine is the nature of the education or training program that is the subject of the elaboration work. Premium Graduate Placements
In this section, the following topics will be discussed:
- the reputation of the different subjects;
- formal, non-formal and informal education
The Curriculum And Subjects
So far, we have examined different types of curricula and different approaches to elaborate on them, but only in general terms. We have not yet addressed any subject in a specific way. However, part of the process of preparing the curriculum requires that we reason in terms of ‘subjects’ to be taken.
We must talk about questions because, in the field of education, educational activities are still classified in terms of topics. It is essential to reflect on the implications that this has for the preparation of the curriculum.
You may have to face a set of subjects related to a topic such as agriculture, the environment, health, or literacy. Or on the contrary, your work may require you to focus on a single issue. In this case, you might have to develop a curriculum for that area or part of it (for example, agricultural economics).
In other cases, your work could cover different subjects at the same time. For example, you could be a worker trainer in a village, in which case you might have to develop comprehensive training courses that bring together agriculture, the environment, health, and/or literacy.
The Reputation of The Different Subjects
It is essential to recognize that the status of each item can vary from one society to another and from one group to another.
The main differences in reputation in the different subject groups arise when observing what value is attributed to each type of knowledge. Countries that have developed ‘academic’ curricula tend to consider certain subjects at a high level, while others are classified as low level. The ‘High’ level subjects are usually:
- formally evaluated;
- imparted to the most capable groups;
- taught to groups with homogeneous preparation;
- oriented towards works of ‘high’ level.
In the response requested in activities section No. 10, you probably included studies that seek a professional qualification such as law, medicine, and engineering; but maybe agriculture is not on your list.
The issue of agriculture is evaluated very differently in different societies. In a few countries, it is highly regarded, but in others, it is considered a low level. In many states, agriculture is not part of school education. This may be part of the ‘non-academic’ vocational training in third-category schools or be an area of knowledge and skills that concerns extension services or non-formal education departments.
Another of the factors that can influence the curriculum to be carried out is how the subject matter is addressed. For example, agriculture, as a subject, can be taught as a neutral, remote, impartial, objective, and scientific issue, separate from its local context. Almost all textbooks on agriculture have been written this way. However, agriculture can also be taught as the subject of a broader area of social development, in which human elements are included and where value judgments are attributed. Both types of approaches require different curricula.
Formal, non-formal and informal education
We have already introduced the idea that there is more than one kind of knowledge. There are several different systems. In many countries, there is a clear division between what is considered a formal education system and what is called non-formal education. Let us proceed to examine these two situations based on the example of agriculture.
Agriculture informal education
Formal education systems usually include all those educational sectors of an institutional nature. Often these institutions are schools (primary and secondary level), high schools, polytechnic institutes, and universities. There may be other types of institutions that hardly fit on this list. The following characteristics can be attributed to formal education programs (Rogers, 1992).
These are usually:
- impersonal in nature;
- of a preparatory life, for subsequent application;
- they are generally aimed at young people;
- they typically have static and compartmentalized content;
- require a pre-selection exam;
- they are institutionalized and sectorized;
- they are definitive (often with scheduled final exams);
- They usually have a self-assessment component.
The preparation of the curriculum in formal education systems usually has a high degree of organization, in which all responsibility falls on specific groups or individuals.
Some examples of how a formal education system can operate are illustrated below in key points 4 and 5.
Not all formal education systems operate precisely as described in the previous examples, but you can recognize in them elements that correspond to your situation.
You may ask yourself, “What role do students have in developing these curricula?” Sometimes students have their role, but it is more common for the curriculum to be developed without their participation. This situation is prevalent in informal education.
Non-formal agricultural education
Earlier, we described some of the characteristics of formal education. The following symptoms can be attributed to non-formal education (Rogers, 1992).
- be personal;
- be aimed at all groups, by age, especially adults;
- be programmed to be applied immediately;
- have an integrated and continuously changing content;
- be freely accessible to all;
- be located anywhere, outside of any sector;
- be continuous, not definitive and
- be validated based on the changes obtained.
A wide range of organizations can teach both non-formal education and training, and for a wide range of people, as well as for a wide variety of places and formats. This makes any generalization around non-formal education difficult.
Locking up education in different categories can confuse, partly because there can be overlaps between them. Indeed, it is not always possible to set precise limits. Some activities involve elements of both formal and non-formal education, for example, extension. Many extension programs cover educational and training aspects. Sometimes an extension service may require mass dissemination of a series of messages. Some of these messages can be transmitted through formal and institutional training centers, while others can use non-formal means, in different frameworks.
We can also distinguish another knowledge – casual.
People can also assimilate messages that have not been explicitly transmitted, for example – by listening to a group of farmers talking about a new vaccine for cattle. This case can be described as informal learning.
In general, in informal learning, there is no curriculum since, by its very nature, it is verified without having been planned and instead manifested as the product derived from other activities. However, about non-formal education programs, it is necessary to use a curriculum because it is necessary to decide what the content of the training will be, what the appropriate resources will be, and still, what the place and date will be in which it will take place.
Since there is a wide variety of non-formal education and training programs aimed at a wide range of recipients, the curricula in question will also be many and different.
This chapter examined the nature of the curriculum, what it is, where it comes from, who decides its content. We have observed that the type of curriculum developed will depend on the type of educational system within which it will be applied.…