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THE BIG AGENDA: How New is The New Curriculum? “A Job half done deserves no praise”

Credit: Wazy Amoah

The current and well-known issue that is confronting Education in Ghana is the novel Corona Virus. The major stakeholders of Education are brainstorming to come out with a new Academic calendar to commence the 2020/2021 academic year.

The global pandemic has shifted our focus (although justifiable) from some important issues in our education sector. Notable amongst them is the introduction of the new curriculum.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) rolled out a new standard-based curriculum for Kindergarten to Primary six pupils in Ghana in September 2019. This new curriculum was designed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment [NaCCA].

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment [NaCCA] of Ghana is an independent statutory body committed to learning experiences and outcomes of all Ghanaian children and young people through world class school curriculum, assessment, and reporting. On the development of the Ghanaian Curriculum, NaCCA said , “ The present school curriculum is being reviewed to respond to a national priority of shifting the structure and content of the education system from merely passing examinations to building of character, nurturing values, and raising literate, confident, and engaged citizens who think critically…”

On the premise of shifting the structure and content of the education system, I ask the question how new is the new curriculum? How is the new curriculum different from the old curriculum?
One will answer that then old curriculum was outcome-based while the new curriculum is standard-based. Also, that the new curriculum employs a more student-centered approach to teacher centered approach found in the old curriculum. Furthermore, new subjects (Our World and Our People and History) were introduced and some old subject were given new names (Science to Natural Science). Lastly, a Mobile App is developed that contains all the pre tertiary education curriculum.

WELL DODE NaCCA, Ministry of Education and GES.
Nevertheless, my question still remains unanswered. How new is the new curriculum in terms of content? It is said in the local parlance that “a Job half done receives no pay”
According to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment [NaCCA] “The review of the curriculum is to address the inherent challenges in the existing curriculum and ensure that the content of the national curriculum for change and sustainable development can be intentionally benchmarked”.


But is that the case when one reads the new curriculum? Is the content in the new curriculum new from the old curriculum as claimed by NaCCA? The answer is a BIG FAT NO!
The new curriculum is ‘the same old doll in a new costume’.

Captions like Unit, specific Objectives, Content, Teaching and Learning Activities and Evaluation in the old curriculum have been changed to Strand, Sub-strand, Content Standard, indicators, Exemplars, and Cor Competencies and Subject Specific Practices.

The new curriculum is like complaining about a certain food and that same food is being served in a new plate. This begs the question WHAT HAVE YOU DONE NEW?. The actual food (in our case the content) is still the same.

Let take a look at one of the new subjects – Our World and Our People.
Sub-strand 4 : Technology in Communication
Content Standard Indicator Exemplars Core Competencies and Subject Specific practices
Recognise technology tools in communication B1.5.1.1.
Identify technology tools in communication Learners in groups talk about technology tools used for communication e.g. gong gong, drums, bells, mobile vans, and community information centres.

Learners draw and colour drums, bells gong gong to assemble people. Creativity and Innovation
Communication and Collaboration
Cultural Identity and Global Citizenship
Personal development and leadership
Digital Literacy

This lesson is to be taught in Class one. The broad topic is My Global Community and it aims at broadening the horizon of the class one pupil to see the whole world as a community which is easily accessible through communication using technology.
The teacher according to this curriculum is to introduce the pupils to some technological tool/devices used in communication under the Indicator section.

Look at the examples the Syllabus gave as technological tools/devices used in communication: gong gong, drums, bells, mobile vans and community centres.
Like seriously? In this modern era where some of these children own smart phones, tablets and computers? If you look at the note carefully you will realise that it was written in the 1990s before the introduction of Computers and Smart Phones. Look carefully, no mention is made of radio, television set, telephone and fax machine. Interestingly Digital literacy is mentioned as one of the core competencies or objectives to be achieved.

How can the pupil be digitally literate by learning gong gong, drums and bells as technological tools?
Is this what they call new curriculum? To even call this an old curriculum is an understatement. This content is archaic and irrelevant in our modern times.

How can our students and pupils grow intellectually and compete globally?
If this is the content in the new subject they introduced, then what will be the content of the old subject they maintained? I will live it to your my reader to answer this question. I am sure you have many more questions to ask our custodians of Education.
But my simple queston is ”HOW NEW IS THE NEW CURRICLUM? “A Job half done deserves no praise”

Written By : Wazy Amoah( A passionate self-employed teacher)

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