Sociological Foundations of Curriculum Development.


Curriculum bring about social change and social factors have an influence on curriculum. A country, like Pakistan, may teach Islamic literature as a part of school curriculum, but a secular country like India can’t teach any religious literature.

Therefore, curricular planners have to be concerned about social factors and the way they can be used to plan and develop responsibility to social problems. We as curriculum planners, need to be concerned about characteristic of present society as well as expected future social features.

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Society, Education and Schooling.

School has been called a miniature society by John Dewey. We can’t ignore social environment of learners because it influences their interests, needs, desires, attitude, values and belief system.

Society is summation of individual who comprise it. Education is preparation of upcoming generation to fit into the system where it is right and enabling them to transform it where such transformation is required.

Education is much wider than schooling. Education is formal, informal as well as non-formal. Education is a life-long process.

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Even a society without any schooling system teaches its youth using informal and socially organized set up.

From the very childhood, if you see your own-self, you must find many things which were never taught formally to you but you learnt it through interaction with different members of society.

For example, how should a person dress up is never taught formally, but we develop a dressing style according to the society we live in. Education also develops socially acceptable attitudes.

An ideal curriculum should concentrate not only on present social scenario, but must also consider that learners must be prepared to accumulate themselves with changing social forces.

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Social Change and Curriculum.

A contemporary society in this age of globalization is changing so fast that it is becoming extremely important for curriculum planners to plan such a curriculum which provides such input to the learners that they are able to cope up with such changes. Curriculum must consider:

Technological Growth:

It is an age when new technologies are emerging faster than ever before. It is the time of information expression which is giving birth to new kinds of jobs.

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It is changing culture of work place, the kinds of technical skills expected in a person, the kinds of communication skills desirable and locale of the work place.

With communication and information technology, work from home concept is gaining popularity.

In addition to it with transportation technology migration is also gaining popularity. The impact of these technological changes are in the form of deteriorating ethics at work place.

Punctuality has been removed by flexible working hours, loyalty by being employed with many employers simultaneously etc.

Accordingly curriculum needs to be modify to equip our learners with such skills.

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Structure of Family:

There is a greater complexity in family structure. Separation, divorce, single parent family, single child all are on an increase.

Due to better transportation and communication facilities, more often than ever before, we find parents working in different cities or have a job which demands frequent outstation trips.

It forces child to stay with a single parent. Joint families are disappearing day-by-day. Nuclear setup is on a rise leading to loneliness.

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Till recent past a child was able to share his academic and social problems in the school with parents. But now parents are too busy to lend their ears to their little ones.

Parents take their children as status symbol and expect excellence in academics. With the changing family structure, the role of schools is expected to change.

These days, people are seeking shortcuts to success giving birth to diversity in life-style, new means of livelihood and alternative routes.

Schools are expected to develop common attitudes and belief systems face a problem when there are extreme diversities in society.

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Cultural Diversity:

From a sociologist’s perspective, schools are the formal organizations which aim at preservation and transmission of culture.

Curriculum must be developed keeping in mind this goal of acculturation in mind. Problem emerges in a multi-cultural society like India which is facing pluralism and diversity in culture.

This shift in trend can be attributed to:

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However, schools are expected to provide culture knowledge, knowledge of languages, literature, sciences, arts, mathematics and crafts.

It is also recommended that those who are not able to adjust with such curriculum either because they have poor family background or due to any other reason must be given compensatory education to make up for the cultural disadvantages and deprivations.

Deprivation is more meaningful in economic sense than in cultural sense. In a multi-cultured society, no single culture can be enforced on others.

Therefore, a curriculum planner is expected to develop such a curriculum that caters to the needs of one and all. A dynamic society must update its curriculum according to social changes.

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Planning for Curriculum Change.

Curriculum has kept changing according to socio-educational, economical changes. For example, in the times of globalization, it is important to develop an internalist approach amongst learners rather nationalist approach to ensure peace, law and order in the world.

Similarly, the curriculum which was rigorously intellectual developed into vocational over time. It suggests flexibility in curriculum to meet social and individual needs according to the times.

For ensuring a socially significant curriculum, the authority which is authorized for curriculum development should comprise of the following social groups:

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Students: Mature students who can give valuable inputs.

Parents: Well informed and socially aware parents who are interested in the field of education.

Educators: Teachers, administrators and public officers.

Researchers: To act as social scientist.

Community Members: Alert, active and responsible community members.

Business Communities: To express expected corporate values amongst youth.

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Political Leaders: To enlist nation’s expectation from education system.

Pressure Groups: Media people or special interest groups who act as critique and thereby provide input for improvement.

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