Thu, 28 Sep 2023


Don’t decide what is best for students by leaving them out
Published on: Sunday, September 03, 2023
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If we want learners to benefit from our new school curriculum, it is pertinent that action is taken to have a wider inclusion of relevant parties in the development and review of it. - pix for illustration purposes only by Superprof
I REFER to the reports on a revised school curriculum in the works.

As a former educator, I feel compelled to share my opinion.

In the development of the new school curriculum, the Education Ministry has involved 1,600 participants in the consultative process. 

I commend the Ministry for the effort invested in involving multiple stakeholders in developing the new curriculum and launching a public survey.

In both reports, it was stated that the new school curriculum was created as a result of the Curriculum Convention, which engaged “teachers, lecturers, parents, non-governmental organisations and education sector players.”

Has anyone else noticed the absence of students being mentioned as a core stakeholder in education? I could be wrong, as the opinions and real experiences of students could have been conveyed by the representatives.

Yet, I believe that it is crucial to include student representatives in the curriculum development process.

There was no mention of the details of the participants involved in the Curriculum Convention. 

By details, I mean the inclusion of representatives of different groups, such as neurodivergent learners and minority students.

Moreover, did we ensure a well-rounded representation of stakeholders from urban, rural and remote areas, as well as educators and administrators from various school types?

I pose this question because the curriculum review survey must be expected to receive sufficient responses from interested and affected parties so that they are representative of our communities nationwide.

With regard to the curriculum review survey, I appreciate that it was in Malay and English. 

It is a fact that people can express themselves better in their mother tongue or native language.

Having said that, research that allows participants to use the languages they are most proficient in can lead to richer data collection and a deeper understanding of their perspectives.

For some, listening and speaking are relatively easier than writing. Could we have added audio translation and allowed spoken responses for a more inclusive survey?

Could we have asked schools nationwide to distribute the surveys for a broader participation? Otherwise, the curriculum review might be confined to a group that happens to come across the survey and with proficiency in either English or Malay (reading and writing).

It is uncertain how individuals, aside from school administrators and teachers, reconcile their understanding of the curricula with what is currently taught at school. 

I suspect that most stakeholders may know what is being taught according to the topics listed in textbooks, but the school curriculum requires a deeper and broader understanding of education for introspection.

There is also no link or access provided to the new curriculum on both reporting and the survey. 

If the new curriculum review is urgent, the Education Ministry’s website, especially the Curriculum Development Unit’s, should highlight changes to the existing curriculum and promote the survey. 

This could assist survey participants in reflecting on the existing curriculum and responding to the survey.

If we want learners to benefit from our new school curriculum, it is pertinent that action is taken to have a wider inclusion of relevant parties in the development and review of it.

More information, such as when the review outcomes will be shared publicly and announcement of next steps on curriculum revision, if any, will allow for greater transparency and accountability not only on the ministry but also all other stakeholders concerned about the development of our students.


- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

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