HOW CAN WE DEVELOP A RELEVANT CURRICULUM?

On assumption of office in 2010 a newly appointed Vice Chancellor in a Nigerian university set up a University-wide Curriculum Review Committee to revamp curricula across faculties to make the academic programs competitive in the world of academia and relevant and responsive to the needs of the Nigerian society. As a member representing the Faculty of Education in that committee and coming from the department of Curriculum Studies and Educational Technology, I was saddled with the responsibility to develop a template for this assignment. I saw it as an opportunity to present my Macro-Micro Needs Analysis model. A draft of this model was presented to my committee and to the university management. Thereafter, I was requested by the Vice Chancellor to link my presentation with the new concept of “Education for Sustainable Development” (ESD) espoused by the United Nations Organization (UNO). This PowerPoint presentation was used to convince the university administration and the university Senate on the need to adopt this model for this project.

WHAT THEN IS EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (ESD)?

  • ESD represents a paradigm shift from Traditional Development Models (TDM).
  • TDM assumed that natural resources are inexhaustible.
  • Encouraged uncontrolled exploitation of raw materials and environments.
  • Total disregard for host communities.
  • Rape of the environment.

ASIAN TIGERS & CRAZE FOR RAW MATERIALS

  • Many nations – India, China, Malaysia, etc., joined the club of developed nations
  • Scramble for raw materials become fiercer.

CONSEQUENCES OF UNBRIDLED EXPLOITATION OF ENVIRONMENTS

  • Global warming & its impact on ecosystems.
  • United Nations warns that:
    • It cannot be business as usual.
    • The human race must not behave like the prodigal son.
    • We must conserve for the next generation.

IN SUMMARY, ESD IS:

    • Economic development with human face.
    • Does not distort the social norms.
    • Is not hostile to the environment.

ESD & GLOBALIZATION

  • Globalization has reduced the world to a global village as a result of advances in ICT.
  • Yes, there is knowledge explosion but Internet has made it possible for knowledge to be acquired asynchronously & for goods and services to be acquired and rendered electronically.
  • Hence outsourcing, e-learning, e-tutoring, etc.
  • Globalization has spurned a knowledge based society, knowledge based economy.

GLOBALIZATION & THE HUMAN RACE

  • Globalization has revealed the inter connectedness of the human race.
  • You cannot talk of being developed when your neighbour lives in squalor & abject poverty caused by economic exploitation of raw materials, social and the ecosystems.
  • Hence WEHABan acronym for :
  • Water and sanitation
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Agriculture
  • Bio diversity and ecosystem management.
  • Poverty & gender equity.
  • These are the 21st Century challenges facing the world.
  • They represent Kofi Anan’s initiatives articulated during 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
  • Tackle challenges using UNESCO as task manager.

UNESCO’S MANDATE

  • UNESCO relies on education & on higher education in particular to confront the above challenges.
  • Universities should develop academic programs to confront challenges by:
    • Training teachers on the requirements for ESD.
    • Applying ICT in a knowledge based society.

OUR DUTY?

  • Not to embark on incremental curriculum development based on hear-say or that follows the crowd but,
  • To identify our challenges & use them to develop relevant curriculum.

WHAT THEN IS CURRICULUM?

  • A curriculum is an embodiment of knowledge, skills & attitudes in a discipline through which nations confront and anticipate challenges in order to survive and remain competitive. In addition, an adaptive curriculum should transmit cultural heritage.

THE 3 DOMAINS OF EDUCATION

  • In education, KNOWLEDGE is covered under the Cognitive Domain.
  • Knowledge deals with facts, concepts, principles, rules, methods, etc. Knowledge about parts of a PC, hardware/software, the human body, classes of food, what happens to the food we eat? What is digestion?
  • Heuristic knowledge – tricks of a trade.
  • SKILLS are covered under the Psychomotor Domain.
  • Concerned with manipulative skills.
  • What skills do I need to build a PC from the scratch, tap palm wine, dissect a toad, build a canoe, a stilt house in the creeks, etc.
  • ATTITUDES, INTERESTS AND FEELINGS are covered under the Affective Domain.
  • How do we rebrand Nigeria that is, instill positive attitude in Nigerians?
  • How do we motivate students & develop their interest in mathematics, physics, English, etc.?
  • Knowledge, skills and attitudes must compliment each other for expertise.

IN SUMMARY

  • Curriculum is the fulcrum for organizing experiences from generation to generation.
  • Experiences can be novel but anticipated.
  • Universities are citadels of learning where ideas that move a society are hatched and nurtured.

CURRICULUM LIKENED TO HUMAN HEART

  • Curriculum is to education, what the heart is to a human body.
  • A man with a weak heart cannot compete in 100 meter race.
  • Curriculum is the major instrument through which nations forge ahead and remain competitive.
  • Curriculum should be dynamic not static.

WHAT IS AN IRRELEVANT CURRICULUM?

  • A curriculum that is “bookish” in orientation.
  • Churns out first class degree graduates who are perpetual job seekers.
  • Churns out first class electrical/electronic graduates who cannot fix electrical problem.

CONSEQUENCES OF IRRELEVANT/WEAK CURRICULUM

  • A country with a weak/irrelevant curriculum will perpetually be a dependent/consumer nation.
  • Rich in natural resources but incapable of harnessing them for improved quality of life & the environment.

UNIVERSITY CURRICULUM IN NIGERIA

  • Highly irrelevant.
  • Takes delight in churning out graduates every year incapable of harnessing her rich natural resources.
  • Incapable of addressing the challenges of WEHAB

TIME FOR CHANGE

  • Examples galore of how leading nations of the world turned to education/curriculum to confront their challenges.
  • In 1957, the former Soviet Union shocked USA with Sputnik 1.

AMERICA’S RESPONSE TO SPUTNIK 1

  • Refurbished her curricula especially in the hard sciences:
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
  • USA launched explorer 1 in 1958.
  • Internet – World Wide Web (www) was response to cold war era communication challenge.

WORLD CHALLENGES AND RESPONSES

  • Saudi Arabia’s first car was a response to a challenge to King Faud University in Riyyadh.
  • BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – technology came to the rescue.
  • Chilean 33 miners – Chilean Navy & the world came to their rescue.
  • India-Pakistan nuclear war heads – challenges and counter challenges.

CHALLENGES IN NIGERIA & THE CURRICULUM IMPERATIVE: THE BIG QUESTION!

Challenges galore in Nigeria. How can they be used to refurbish her curricula?

  • Needs analysis is the panacea.

WHAT THEN IS NEED?

  • Need is a synonym of challenge, problem.
  • Need is something that:
    • Energizes one into action.
    • Motivates, gingers, triggers.
    • Need is a void/vacuum that propels one into action
    • Need is different from want.

INDIVIDUAL/ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS

  • Just as individuals have needs so do organizations and nations.
  • However, resources are scarce.
  • Hence the need for needs analysis

WHAT THEN IS DIKE’S (2008) MACRO-MICRO NEEDS ANALYSIS?    

  • It is the application of appropriate instruments to determine the problems/challenges of the Nigerian society.
  • It can be futuristic/anticipatory

Nigeria’s vision 2030 typifies macro needs analysis It includes benchmark analysis – standard specification It includes situational analysis – determination of the status quo Macro-Micro Needs Analysis Model aims to determine and prioritize the problems/challenges of organizations using input from significant stakeholders who will vary depending on fields. Benchmarks/standards for attaining the challenges are specified. The macro component of the model is therefore concerned with determination and prioritization of the problems/challenges and to develop benchmarks/standards/ideals.

  • t is the application of appropriate instruments to determine the problems/challenges of the Nigerian society.
  • It can be futuristic or anticipatory
  • Nigeria’s vision 2020 typifies Macro Needs Analysis
  • It includes benchmark analysis

To conduct Needs Analysis

  • Use Dike’s (2008) Macro-Micro Needs Analysis model
  • What is Macro Needs Analysis?
  • What is Micro Needs Analysis?
  • How can they be integrated with ESD to refurbish a curriculum?

The Aims of Macro Needs Analysis are to:

  • Identify challenges in a field using instruments  administered to three significant   stakeholders,
  • Analyze the data,
  • Prioritize the challenges and,
  • Develop benchmarks/standards for each challenge.

To conduct Macro Needs Analysis stage therefore,

  • Select 3 important stakeholders namely:
    • Teachers/Subject matter experts (SMEs),
    • Learners and,
    • Significant members of the community.
  • Develop and refine the instruments for data collection,
  • Administer the instruments and,
  • Analyze data,
  • Prioritize challenges.

Practical application of Macro Needs Analysis (1)

  • Ask stakeholders to name the most pressing challenge(s) confronting a field or Nigeria as a nation.
  • Tally the responses.
  • Prioritize the challenges.

Practical application of Macro Needs Analysis (2)

  • Let us pose a simple question: what is the most pressing problem/challenge confronting agriculture in Nigeria today to:
    • 200 Teachers/SMEs,
    • 200 Learners and,
    • 200 significant community members?

This question can be particularized to a state, district or region and this can lead to decentralized curriculum that is in effect in Nigeria.

Below are hypothetical responses to our simple question:

Responses from Subject Matter Experts:

  • Agric extension                                               10%
  • Incentives                                                        10%
  • Enough farmland                                           8%
  • Agric labs                                                         25%
  • Storage                                                             5%
  • Distribution network                                    5%
  • Mechanized farming                                    15%
  • Fertilizer supply                                            10%
  • Soil pH                                                             5%
  • Improved seedlings                                      5%
  • Total                                     =                         100%

Responses from learners:

  • Agric extension                                               8%
  • Incentives                                                        10%
  • Enough farmland                                           10%
  • Agric labs                                                         30%
  • Storage                                                             3%
  • Distribution network                                    4%
  • Mechanized farming                                    20%
  • Fertilizer supply                                            5%
  • Soil ph                                                              3%
  • Improved seedlings                                      7%
  • Total                                         =                      100%

Responses from significant members of a community:

  • Agric extension                                               15%
  • Incentives                                                        10%
  • Enough farmland                                           8%
  • Agric labs                                                         15%
  • Storage                                                              5%
  • Distribution network                                     5%
  • Mechanized farming                                     20%
  • Fertilizer supply                                             10%
  • Soil ph                                                               5%
  • Improved seedlings                                       7%
  • Total                                        =                       100%

Tally responses from the 3 stakeholders

S/N Challenges SMEs Learners Others Total
1 Agric extension 10% 8% 15% 33%
2 Incentives 10% 10% 10% 30%
3 Enough farmland 8% 10% 8% 26%
4 Agric labs 15% 20% 20% 55%
5 Storage 5% 3% 5% 13%
6 Distribution network 5% 4% 5% 14%
7 Mechanized farming 25% 30% 15% 70%
8 Fertilizer supply 10% 5% 10% 25%
9 Soil pH 5% 3% 5% 13%
10 Improved seedlings 5% 7% 7% 19%
11 TOTAL 100% 100% 100%  

Prioritize the responses:

  1. Mechanized farming 70%
  2. Agric laboratories 55%
  3. Agric Extension 33%
  4. Incentives 30%
  5. Enough farmland 26%
  6. Fertilizer supply 25%
  7. Improved seedlings 19%
  8. Distribution networks 14%
  9. Soil pH 13%
  10. Storage 13%

Macro Needs Analysis stage 2

  • This is the same as conducting benchmark analysis. Therefore,
    • Specify the standards/ideals for the top priority challenge(s).
    • Let us use our topmost challenge which is Mechanized farming (70% respondents).
  • What should be the ideals/standards for mechanized farming bearing in mind ESD?

How do we generate these standards bearing in mind ESD?

Generating standards for ESD based mechanized agriculture

  • Mechanized agriculture requires regular water supply – how do you ensure this?
  • Mechanized agriculture requires energy – how do you provide alternative sources of energy at affordable cost and on a regular basis?
  • Mechanized agriculture should support good health of workers.
  • Mechanized agriculture should ensure biodiversity and balanced ecosystem
  • Mechanized agriculture should ensure empowerment of women and poverty reduction.

Benchmark analysis: to generate ideal/standard content for mechanized farming (This should imply interdisciplinary approach).

  • Consult subject matter experts.
  • Consult countries that have mechanized agriculture (e.g. Precision farming in Israel).
  • Consult international agencies (UNESCO) for ESD curriculum guidelines.
  • Apply ICT & Trans-disciplinary approach to integrate all ESD components as stipulated under “Generating standards for ESD based Mechanized agriculture”. How?
  • What ideal course titles for mechanized farming using trans-disciplinary approach?
  • What entrepreneurial skills and how?
  • What ideal topics for each course?
  • What topics for practicals?
  • Apply ICT & Trans-disciplinary approach to integrate all ESD components. How?

Benchmark analysis: to generate ideal personnel for mechanized farming

  • What ideal personnel (lecturers, technicians, admin/secretarial staff?
    • Conduct job task analysis
  • What quality of learners?
  • What ideal teacher-learner ratio?
  • What Teaching approaches?
  • What Evaluation techniques?
  • Apply ICT & Trans-disciplinary approach to integrate all ESD components. How?

Micro Needs Analysis

Having harnessed the needs/challenges of Nigeria in agriculture and having generated standards for each challenge, we look inwards to determine agencies through which a society confronts this challenge.

Micro Needs Analysis therefore entails to:

  • Determine existing agencies in Nigeria for tackling the challenge(s).
  • Conduct situational analysis to determine the level of readiness of agencies to attain challenge standards.
  • This is same as determining the status quo or the observed state of affairs in agencies.

The Nitty-Gritty of Micro Needs Analysis: Situational Analysis

Specifically, Micro Needs Analysis entails:

  • Determine the agencies and  their standards for mechanized farming under:
    • Contents (courses course titles & topics).
    • Infrastructure (classrooms, labs, offices)
    • Personnel
    • Learners
    • Teacher-learner ratio
    • Teaching approaches
    • Evaluation techniques.

The Nitty-Gritty of Micro Needs Analysis:    Situational analysis

  • Where no agency exists, establish one.
  • Harness discrepancy between the outcome of Macro and Micro Needs Analysis by:
    • Comparing challenge standards with agency standards.
    • Harness the gap between the 2.
    • Refurbish existing curriculum or,
    • Develop fresh curriculum

Implications for the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT)

  • University is one agency through which nations forge ahead through innovations.
  • Therefore review the vision of UNIPORT and compare her standards with standards from Macro Needs Analysis and bearing in mind the requirements for ESD.
  • Conduct Macro Needs Analysis to determine challenges facing Colleges/Faculties of:
    • Agriculture
    • Education
    • Science
    • Medicine
    • Pharmacy
    • Clinical medicine
    • Management science
    • Engineering
    • Humanities
    • Social sciences
  • Harness the gap between UNIPORT’s Macro and Micro Needs Analysis
  • Refurbish existing curricula across board.
  • What entrepreneurial skills do we highlight and how?

Practical Application of Dike’s (2008) Macro- Micro Needs Analysis to the Faculty of Education

Let us assume the challenges confronting the Faculty of Education are:

  • Use of sterile and obsolete teaching methods.
  • Population explosion.
  • Knowledge explosion.
  • Non self-directed learners.
  • Faculty burn out (low morale).
  • Poor evaluation strategies.
  • Dearth of digitized instructional materials.
  • Examination malpractices.
  • Dearth of entrepreneurial skills.

Assume population explosion is a major challenge. Therefore, conduct benchmark analysis for population explosion by:

  • Determine the ideal population of students in the 7 departments in the Faculty.
  • Determine ideal courses
  • Determine standard floor space for:
    • Large group presentations.
    • Normal classrooms.
    • Small group studies.
    • Independent/individualized study carrels.
    • ICT integration and the requisite facilities (ICT ).

Application to Faculty of Education: Benchmark analysis to determine the ideals/standards for:

  • Contents (subjects/topics)
  • Teaching approaches
  • Evaluation techniques.
  • Personnel (lecturers, technicians, admin/sec staff
  • Ideal learners
  • Ideal teacher-learner ratio
  • How can these data be generated?

Application to Faculty of Education: Situational Analysis

  • Determine what is on ground in the Faculty of Education in terms of:
  • Infrastructure
    •  Floor space for:
      • Large group presentations
      • Normal classrooms
      • Small group studies
      • Independent/individualized study carrels
      • Integrate online learning facilities (ICT in all)
    • Labs,
    • Offices (academic, admin/sec, technical)

Harness the gaps.

How can these data be generated?

Application to Faculty of Education: Situational Analysis

Determine what is available for:

  • Contents (subjects/topics)
  • Teaching approaches
  • Evaluation techniques.
  • Personnel (lecturers, technicians, admin/sec staff
  • Ideal learners
  • Ideal teacher-learner ratio
  • How can these data be generated?

Instruments for Macro Needs Analysis

Please use this template as a guide for curriculum refurbishment /improvement in your department.

Indicate in the spaces below the challenges facing the Nigerian society which you think your department can, through her courses, help her to solve.

Make use of your three stakeholders namely,

­Lecturers/subject matter experts

­Learners

Members of the Nigerian society

Macro Needs Analysis instrument using 3 stakeholders  (SMEs)

Challenges

1.…………………………………………………………………….

2.…………………………………………………………………….

3.…………………………………………………………………….

4.…………………………………………………………………….

5.…………………………………………………………………….

6.…………………………………………………………………….

7.…………………………………………………………………….

8.…………………………………………………………………….

9.…………………………………………………………………….

10.…………………………………………………………………….

 

Benchmark analysis

Against each challenge listed, delineate the ideals/standards:

Challenge ………………………………………………………………………………….………

Content/knowledge (courses and titles)………………………………………………

Skills…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Attitudes………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Benchmark analysis

Please, specify ideal infrastructures needed to confront each challenge

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Benchmark analysis

Please, specify ideal personnel (with qualifications, experience & number) needed to confront each challenge.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Situational analysis

Indicate the courses currently taught in your department to confront each challenge:

Challenge 1……………………………………………………….

Knowledge (departmental courses and titles)…

Skills…………………………………………………………………

Attitudes……………………………………………………………

Compare benchmarks & status quo (observed)

Benchmarks

  • Contents………………………………………………………
  • Infrastructure……………………………………………
  • Personnel…………………………………………………….
  • Teaching methods………
  • Evaluation
  • Instructional materials

Status quo

  • Contents……………………………………………………………………
  • Infrastructure………………………………………………………………
  • Personnel………………………………………………………………….
  • Teaching methods…………………………………………………………
  • Evaluation…………………………………………………………………
  • Instructional materials.

APPLICATIONS OF THE MACRO-MICRO NEEDS ANALYSIS MODEL

Below is an assignment based on Macro-Micro Needs Analysis model to 300 level undergraduates on a course entitled: EDU 341 Developing Adult and Community Education Curriculum

The assignment

Assume you are the Director of Curriculum Development in your State Ministry of Education. Your Commissioner directs you to come up with a curriculum package for Adult and Community Education. Follow the method adopted by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to come up with a relevant curriculum for Adult and Community Education. Remember that NERDC:

  1. Had goals guiding her curriculum efforts. What are these goals?
  2. She then assembled:
    1. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). These should be experts knowledgeable in:
      1. Adult and Community Education,
      2. Curriculum Studies,
  • The Social Sciences,
  1. Health Education,
  2. Water Development,
  3. Rural Development
  • Agriculture
  • Women Affairs, etc.
  1. Parents
  2. Significant members of the society (Pastors, NGOs, Civil Societies, etc)

Decide how many people you will need in each group. This will depend on your budget. Remember that for you to achieve something tangible, you may need to bring everybody in a place preferably a hotel where they are to be accommodated and fed to avoid transport and other logistic issues. You have to anticipate how long (weeks/months) this assignment will take and use this to prepare your budget.

When you have assembled your team in a workshop, pose this simple question to them –

  1. What challenges/problems/needs in our various communities can we use as a basis to develop an Adult and Community Education curriculum? Appoint team leaders or coordinators for each group. The coordinators must have good interpersonal relationship skills (What are these interpersonal relationship skills and why are they necessary?)
  2. Give each group an opportunity to brainstorm (Provide writing materials and secretarial staff (such as?).
  3. Tally each group’s responses and the responses of the entire team.

Follow the following guidelines to respond to this assignment:

Let us suppose that our subject area of interest or area of specialization is Animal husbandry in Agriculture. A student can adopt the following format to respond:

  1. What is animal husbandry?
  2. What is the problem? The problem is that despite an abundance of Departments of Animal Husbandry in all Faculties of Agriculture in Nigerian universities, there is still insufficient supply of animal husbandry products.
  3. What are the Challenges? Use Dike’s Macro Needs Analysis model to identify the challenges using significant stakeholders (who are they?) How many stakeholders? Prioritize the challenges.
  4. Conduct Micro Needs Analysis by:
    • Identify existing agencies responsible for animal husbandry- name them
    • Determine the ideals in the areas of content, facilities, staff, teaching methods, etc., for successful animal husbandry. You can borrow ideas from countries with successful animal husbandry programs.
    • Compare the ideals/standards obtained from the Macro Needs Analysis with the agency standards (that is, the observed/status quo).
    • Come up with your new curriculum package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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