New national curriculum for 2016/17 school year

New national curriculum for 2016/17 school year

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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WORK is far advanced to establish the new National Standards Curriculum for the grades one to nine levels which is to come into operation for the beginning of the 2016/17 school year.

The goal of the new curriculum is to improve the general academic performance, attitude and behaviour of students, which is expected to redound to the positive shaping of the national social and economic fabric.

Under the new system, emphasis will be placed on project-based and problem-solving learning, with science, technology, engineering and mathematics/ science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEM/STEAM) integrated at all levels.

The approaches will allow the learners to have hands-on experiences that are similar to real-world situations, making the learning experience less abstract and more concrete.

Chief Education Officer Dr Grace McLean said a team from the ministry will soon be undertaking stakeholder consultations.

"The development of this curriculum started about three years ago and we have already engaged a number of our teachers. We have a pilot that is currently going on with 49 schools; a pilot went on with 12 schools last year," she said.

The new curriculum, she said, will allow students to utilise their own talents, and experiences in the learning process, while facilitating the increase use of information and communication technologies. (ICT)

In addition, civics will return to be a discrete discipline, while technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and Spanish will be formally introduced at the primary level.

Also, subject areas such as geography and history will be separated from social studies and will be offered separately, starting at Grade 7.

Chemistry, biology and physics have been separated from integrated sciences and will be offered separately at Grade 9.

The changes are aimed at ensuring that the requisite foundation for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) in the disciplines is laid during the lower secondary years.

"We are actively engaged in our tertiary institutions, because their curriculum will need to be changed as well," Dr McLean said, while pointing out that "our officers have gone on study tours to other countries so that they can have the kind of content on best practices to inform the development".

She further stressed that a lot is being placed on training in order to make the new system "sustainable [and] embedded in practice within the institutions, so that our students can develop the skills that we expect them to have as they move into adulthood".


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