‘Curriculum’ – the term has been derived from Latin, meaning ‘race-course’. In education curriculum means ‘the course of studies’ to be followed by pupils in their schools. ‘the curriculum may be defined as the totality of subject matter, activities and experiences, which constitute a pupils school life’.
The ‘Twenty Ninth Year Book’ (N.F.S.) states thus;
“A course of study is the material usually in pamphlet form which sets forth for the teacher such items as the objectives and content of a given subject and the activities and books to be used to accomplish desired results”
“The curriculum is the child’s introduction to life, as schooling is the preparation for it”.
When the aims and objectives have been defined precisely and in concrete terms, the necessity of framing a curriculum on the basis of psychological, social and pedagogical considerations should arise. Concrete principles for realizing the goal should be devised. H. Spencer points out that our first step must be to classify in order of their importance, the leading kinds of activity which constitute human life. Education has become life-centric and child-centric too. So it has been said,
“A rationally conceived curriculum must be resultant of the two forces – the nature of the child and the requirements of the community”.
The modern trend implies that all the attentions of education should be focussed on the child from all perspectives. The aim of education should be the development of the child as a perfect and worthy member of the society. Similarly, the curriculum should be so framed as to bring the child into the center and to help him developing – i.e. the growth of the child through the graded phases of development – physical, mental, moral and social.
Basic Principles :-
- In the first place, the curriculum should not merely be a theoretical study of certain branches of knowledge, unrelated to the child’s life-interest. The subject matter of the curriculum should be directly related with complexities of modern life. Through active participation in varied activities and experiences provided by the curriculum, he should derive useful skills, habits, knowledge, power of appreciation, attitudes and human values needed for his living in present world.
- Children tend to have different abilities and tendencies. So adults should not impose a fixed set of course materials for all. It should so arranged that it can meet different needs of health, physical growth, reasoning, judgment, imagination of different child.
- Thirdly, a child’s psychological traits find expression only through society. Hence, the curriculum should be organized with an eye to social demands, social problems and needs of the growing child.
- Fourthly, there must be provision for vocational training so that a child is enabled to earn his livelihood in this competitive world.
- Fifthly,the curriculum should be thought of in terms of activity and experience tater than of knowledge to be acquired and facts to be stored. It must be activity based and there should be provision for work-education. It should include various types of useful experiences like music and fine arts, physical activities and other necessary social experiences. The work-shop and school should be combined.
- Logical arrangements and compactness of matter must yield to psychological ordering of materials in accordance with the child’s developing interests and ideas in the particular subject-area.
- Correlation and co-ordination of the course material is of out most importance at every stage. The full course should be made in such way that it is in accordance with the child’s ability. In each stage different areas of learning should be correlated and taken up together as far as possible.
- The curriculum should also be framed in such a manner that ‘it is an individual whole’ having objective areas of different aspects learning. The diversified course should cater to the individual aptitudes and abilities.
- Ninthly, the curriculum should include all those activities and experiences which are least likely to be provided satisfactorily by other educational agencies.
- Sir Nunn points out,
‘In every subject the pupil is to have the joy of discovery, of creative activity, he is to be satisfied with the travail of his own soul’.
‘In a well-planned educational system, opportunities will be provided at every level to the pupils for the exercise of their reflective powers, artistic abilities and practical work’.
Lastly, the curriculum should purpose the individual not only for life of work but also for life of leisure, by exploring and developing the recreational resources. It should be flexible, adjustable and dynamic – in harmony with the needs of pupils and changing conditions of society.