What makes a quality curriculum?

Author(s): Stabback, Philip

Organisation(s): UNESCO-IBE

Date: 2016

Pages: 41 p.

Sustainable Development Goal Four has to do with education in the post - 2015 development agenda. It aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong l earning opportunities for all”. Given the essential role of curriculum in enabling quality learning and in articulating and supporting education that is relevant to holistic development, the authors' purpose in this paper is to identify what makes a quality curriculum, so as to support curricular innovation in UNESCO Member States to the end of the realization of Sustainable Development Goal Four. In this they are assuming that curriculum, given its essential role in the provision of quality learning for all children and young people, and in articulating and supporting education that is relevant to holistic development, is critical in the realization of SDG 4. It is the curriculum that determines to a large extent whether education is inclusive, thus playing a significant role in ensuring that provision is equitable. It is the curriculum that provides the structure for the provision of quality learning, especially where teachers might be under-qualified and inexperienced, their classrooms under-resourced, and their students lacking the prior frameworks within which to situate their learning. And it is the curriculum that articulates both the competencies necessary for lifelong learning and the competencies needed for holistic development. The authors thus argue that curriculum lies at the crossroads of these four key aspects of SDG 4: that education should be (1) inclusive and equitable, (2) characterized by quality learning, (3) promoting lifelong learning, and (4) relevant to holistic development. Curriculum, in other words, provides the bridge between education and development – and it is the competencies associated with lifelong learning and aligned with development needs, in the broadest, holistic sense of the term, that span that bridge.

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