Curriculum Studies

The word curriculum’ has its origin in the racing tracks of ancient Greece, to mean, quite literally, a course.

The organisation of schooling and higher education has long been associated with the idea of a curriculum understood as planned and guided learning. Accordingly, a variety of curricula have been developed and implemented and these have also been contested for several reasons. Such contestations concern the design, implementation, and evaluation of educational programmes. They raise questions about what may be included in a school curriculum and why; how curricular objectives could be framed; how notions of knowledge, skills and dispositions are articulated, etc. These also entail discussions regarding the sequence of topics and lessons, as well as the conceptualisation and development of teaching-learning materials, pedagogical interventions and schemes of assessment. Another equally important set of contestations concerns the role that social, economic and political factors play in curriculum design and implementation.

Building on insights from foundational disciplines in education, this course explores the structural, developmental, and normative concerns in school curricula and complements pedagogy courses that students would pursue concurrently. The course begins with an overview of recurring curriculum issues in historical and contemporary perspectives, introduces students to the practice of curriculum inquiry and theorising, and provides opportunities to explore effects of shifting paradigms within the field of curriculum studies. It also introduces students to a range of important concepts and frameworks that would enable them to understand, classify, compare and critique curricula. They will learn to employ these in analysing curricular aims and objectives, the placing of different school subjects in the curriculum (and the relationship between these two), pedagogic practices and assessment. These discussions will use instances from curriculum development exercises in the history of school education in India, providing opportunities to read closely, various curriculum frameworks, curricula and syllabi developed in recent times. The course will also provide some opportunities to understand the educational writings of Gandhi and Tagore, among others.