If I could do one thing in my lifetime to make the world better, it would be to improve the quality of education in developing countries by ensuring that a curriculum that integrates analytic life skills, critical thinking and community service comes into place. An initiative in curriculum development in these countries could greatly improve the quality of education in order to generate an enlightened youth aware of the beauty of diversity, open-minded and able to incorporate knowledge gained through skills of analysis. This would ultimately give rise to more analytical and successful decision makers in the future as well as raise the living standards of a people that have suffered greatly due to poverty.
The lack of quality education has contributed to low productivity in employment sectors in developing countries, affected the decision making processes of political leaders, and resulted in lack of motivation and determination of the youth enrolled in schools. Thus, a culture of cheating in national examinations has become inevitable as these education systems emphasize on passing of one final national examination in order to determine the future success of an individual. This not only threatens the integrity of the youth but also fuels corruption in the societies.
Most of the education systems in these developing countries have been criticized for providing knowledge that does not yield as much when the students are taken to the fields. A number of times, there are no connections between what the students study and what they end up pursuing as their careers. The youth are to a large extent dissatisfied with the curriculum, finding it less helpful during decision-making situations. Kenya for example, has a system of 8-4-4 that has not worked efficiently as shown by the study ofNyandusi 2001 where it became clear that employers were dissatisfied with the preparedness of school graduates in the field of work. Twelve years have passed since the study and several attempts to modify the curriculum have been made yet the problem still lies in that, the curriculum developers are basically teachers who lack the training in quality assurance and have no understanding of the theory of curriculum development. This certainly leaves a gap to be filled.
Moreover, the International Academic schools in these countries have shown tremendous progress in putting their students at world stage due to their curriculums that greatly equip young women and men in areas of decision making, talent identification and critical thinking. This has bred a successful lot of students accepted by universities abroad under full or partial scholarships. However these international schools are few and mostly cost a fortune to attend, thus not quenching the thirst of all the youth out there who seek an education that will be relevant and practical in their fields of work. Therefore, although it is every youths dream, only few from the society acquire it. Whereas most of the curriculums in developed countries monitor the students’success on a termly basis, the latter focuses on one national examination and bases a student’s career on it. If quality of education can improve on a national scale so that national curriculum that serves all provides life skills to the youth, then a great improvement would be seen in different spheres of these young people’s lives.
Knowledge presented should be open to question. The more critical the youth can be towards the information presented to them, whether it is perceived to be the “truth” or not, the more of thinkers they will grow up to be. Some curriculums do not offer an opportunity for the youth to question knowledge and limit their abilities to develop into great decision makers. For some, there is no room for the youth to voice out their own opinions on crucial matters and a student’s success is based on memorization of content rather than understanding and analysis. There is thus such a great need for change in the curriculum in order to provide the youth with better quality education that will prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow.
HOW I INTEND TO ACHIEVE MY DREAM?
- Training of teachers who have lacked the expertise in curriculum development like in Kenya is a great initiative. If I could, I would assign a Curriculum Development Teacher Training institution and invest on research in this field as well as bring in experts with the required tools in ICT to support these teachers and give them the skills they will need to meet the needs of curriculum development in my country, Kenya.
- Another approach would be to start a Certificate/diploma or degree course in Curriculum Development which will not only create employment and cut down on poverty eventually but will also offer a panel of skilled workers that are able to meet the standards of the nation through smart curriculum modifications. Personally, I feel that creating workshops between teachers from international institutions and national schools will disseminate knowledge and experience that will eventually work in favor of the greater common good.
I would like to conclude that every dream can turn into a reality provided we choose not to stop dreaming and rather channel our energy into making it work. Having been through both curriculums (national and IB international), I can confidently admit that quality education has had a great impact on my life and continues to shape the decisions I make on a daily basis. My dream is to see that it is available to all the youth in developing countries regardless of their financial status. Developing countries need to see that most of the problems combating them lie in the foundations of the institutions they set up. We need reforms and as we go about whining how we are always so backward, I would like our leaders to drive their attention to Curriculum Development. This would on a long term basis create a network of morally conscious, critical and steadfast leaders that will lead the country based on their strong educational foundation. I personally believe that the greatness of a nation lies in its quality of education.
Khadija Dohry, ICYF-DC Volunteer