12.12.2012 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Designing a French version of successful Postgraduate Diploma in curriculum design

Curricula in schools need to match the needs of learners and society ©UNESCO/Always

UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar organizes the first consultative meeting to plan the implementation of a French edition of the successful Postgraduate Diploma in Curriculum Design and Development.

Some 50 participants from French-speaking representatives from ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) will attend the workshop from 13 to 15 December 2012 in Dakar, Senegal.

The objectives of the workshop include:

  • Review countries’ curriculum reform and identify their challenges,
  • Identify training needs to ensure the development of a skill-based curriculum,
  • Plan continuous knowledge assessment mechanisms,
  • Decide on criteria for selecting institutions/countries that are likely to strengthen capacities in designing and developing a curriculum,
  • Suggest a roadmap and a plan for the implementation of the capacity-building programme,
  • Discuss a strategy to mobilize partners and financial resources.

The aim is to launch the Postgraduate Diploma in 2013.

“French-speaking countries have initiated multiple reforms of the education sector but need improved skills to better coordinate curricular reform which remains one of the hardest and most urgent challenges in these countries,” explains Fatoumata Marega, Programme Specialist at UNESCO Dakar.

Towards quality basic education for all

This project is part of the Basic Education in Africa Programme (BEAP) launched by UNESCO in 2007 to tackle the issue of access to universal basic education and to support African countries in reforming their basic education systems.

“We promote a broader approach of basic education, a holistic and continuous cycle for children aged 0-15, in order to guarantee both access and success of learning for all”, says Marega.

Besides the issue of access to education, the quality of the teaching-learning is a major challenge.

According to the Global Monitoring Report on Education for All 2012, there is still too much children finishing primary education without knowing how to read and write. This statement reveals the need to upscale the basic education systems and, in doing so, to pay special attention to three crucial factors: the nature of curricula, the relevance of teacher training, and the adequacy of knowledge assessment systems.

Training specialists in curriculum design and development

In October 2011, UNESCO Dakar and partners launched the first edition of the Postgraduate Diploma on Curriculum Design and Development for English-speaking African countries. 49 learners – curriculum developers and planers, trainers of teachers, professors, inspectors, political decision-makers, researchers, signed up for this 32-week course. In November 2012, 88 per cent of them graduated.

A second edition of the same diploma started on 12 November 2012. 47 learners enrolled from 18, primarily African, countries.

The diploma aims to support the development of capacities at a national level by setting up a panel of experts in curricular issues.

It is a collaborative effort of UNESCO Dakar, UNESCO Headquarters and UNESCO's International Bureau for Education (IBE), together with the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) and the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) launched.

Relevant institutions in these countries will be involved during the development and implementing of the Postgraduate Diploma.

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