Opportunity for change

1st July 2005 at 01:00
Elizabeth Buie's front-page article on the curriculum review (June 10) may have accurately represented some cynical views exchanged at a recent global citizenship seminar in Glasgow. However, the headline used, "Subject revamp may be stifled", paints a disappointingly negative picture of the process of curriculum reform currently under way.

What we have is a unique and exciting opportunity fundamentally to change the process of curriculum development in Scottish education.

The traditional approach has involved the usual suspects being closeted away to engage in a protracted desk exercise, which resulted in a prescription that was then handed down as a set of guidelines to be followed by schools - flexibly, of course - over the next 15 years.

Instead, with A Curriculum for Excellence, curriculum development can become a continuing work in progress, involving schools and other interested parties in innovation, informed by collaborative action research and evaluation.

Achieving the declared aims of the report of the review group and the intentions outlined in the ministerial response will indeed be challenging, given the inherent conservatism of many elements of the education system in Scotland.

However, this is an opportunity which should be grasped with enthusiasm by schools and by the educational research community.

Professor Donald Christie Vice dean (research) Faculty of Education Strathclyde University

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