Curriculum is an important element of education. Aims of education are reflected in the curriculum. In other words, the curriculum is determined by the aims of life and society. Aims of life and society are subject to constant change.
Hence, the aims of education are also subject to change and dynamic. The aims of education are attained by the school programmes, concerning knowledge, experiences, activities, skills and values. The different school programmes are jointly known as curriculum.
Meaning of Curriculum:
The term curriculum has been derived from a Latin word ‘Currere’ which means a ‘race course’ or a runway on which one runs to reach a goal. Accordingly, a curriculum is the instructional and the educative programme by following which the pupils achieve their goals, ideals and aspirations of life. It is curriculum through which the general aims of a school education receive concrete expression.
Traditional concept-The traditional curriculum was subject-centered while the modern curriculum is child and life-centered.
Modern Concept of Curriculum:
Modern education is the combination of two dynamic processes. The one is the process of individual development and the other is the process of socialization, which is commonly known as adjustment with the social environment.
Definition of Curriculum:
The term curriculum has been defined by different writers in different ways:
1. Cunningham - “Curriculum is a tool in the hands of the artist (teacher) to mould his material (pupils) according to his ideas (aims and objectives) in his studio (school)”.
2. Morroe - “Curriculum includes all those activities which are utilized by the school to attain the aims of education.
3. Froebel - “Curriculum should be conceived as an epitome of the rounded whole of the knowledge and experience of the human race.”
4. Crow and Crow - The curriculum includes all the learners’ experience in or outside school that are included in a programme which has been devised to help him developmentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually and morally”.
5. T.P. Nunn-“The curriculum should be viewed as various forms of activities that are grand expressions of human sprit and that are of the greatest and most permanent significance to the wide world”.
Principle of Curriculum Construction:
The content of curriculum is determined on the basis of some academic principles which are stated below:
(1) Aims of education and objectivity:
Life is complex. A curriculum should reflect the complexities of life. In other words, in farming the curriculum one should take into consideration the aims and objectives of education.
(2) Child-centric principle:
The curriculum should be framed according to the actual needs, interests and capacities of the child. That means a curriculum must be child-centric as modern education is child-centered.
(3) Principles of civic and social needs:
Man is a social being. He lives in the society. The child develops in the society. Modern education aims at both developments of the individuality of the child as well as the development of the society.
(4) Principle of conservation:
Man has conserved experiences very carefully for better adaptability. Education is regarded as a means of deserving the cultural heritage of humanity. The school serves two-fold functions in this regard- preservation of the past experiences and transmission of experiences.
(5) Principles of creativeness:
Education not only conserves that past experiences of humanity but also helps an individual to develop his innate potentialities.
(6) Principle of forward-looking:
The aim of life-centered education is not limited to the present life-situations in the family and society. Hence, education must prepare the child of shouldering future responsibilities. So in farming the curriculum we must take into consideration the future needs of the child as well as the needs of the society.
(7) Principle of preparation for living:
The children should know the various activities of the environment around them and how these activities are enabling people to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, recreation, health and education.
(8) Principle of integration and correlation:
Subjects should be arranged logically and psychologically in accordance with the child’s developing interests.
(9) Principle of learning ability:
Every item should be learnt. An item should not only be learnable, it should also have utility.
(10) Principle of individual difference:
The curriculum should be framed in such a way that every individual can have opportunity for self-expression and development. The curriculum should be based on the psychology of individual difference, which can meet the complexities of modern democratic society.
(11) Principle of social relevancy and utility:
Subjects should not be determined on the basis of their disciplinary value but on the basis of their intrinsic value, social relevancy and utility.
(12) Principle for utilization of leisure:
Variety of subjects such as games and sports, fine arts, subjects of aesthetic value are to be introduced in the school programme to utilize leisure.
(13) Principle of variety and flexibility:
The curriculum should include such activities and experiences, which may facilitate his normal development. The curriculum for girls should naturally be different from that of boys; boys and girls have different needs and attitudes.
(14) Principle of time:
Relative significance and importance of each subject in the curriculum has to be judged and determined in the light of the time available in the timetable, which is regarded as the mirror of the school programme.