Designing curriculum of future!


Rachna Pant
Principal, Ramjas School, R.K. Puram, New Delhi

Given the reality that social structures and personal life styles have considerably changed in the last decade, educators have to possibly look at newer ingredients that would define a curricular architecture.

There is a need to redefine the curriculum of future. Here, Rachna Pant, Principal, Ramjas School, RK Puram, New Delhi, shares her views on the same.

TPS: What do you think are the important fundamentals that should go into the design of a curriculum of the future?

Rachna: Students today are:

  • Upwardly mobile
  • Aspirational
  • Global
  • Risk takers
  • Flooded with opportunities
  • Technology driven
  • Not bound by regions

Thus, Curriculum Design needs to have the following ingredients:

  • Technology to be an integrated part of learning, not merely a separate subject.
  • Curriculum to have local and global match.
  • Life skills to be woven into the system.
  • Matching aspirations to careers and to drive courses that lead to productive work.
  • Flexibility in designing it in order to have the ability to align with global needs.
  • World concerns and driving forces to be taught as a subject with fluidity, ability to adapt to needs.
  • Curriculum should be a response to the global needs.

TPS: In a global world, learning has to prepare the next generation both for local and global challenges. Bringing convergences between these two perspectives through various disciplines of learning is indeed a challenge and calls for fresh thinking. What would be your suggestions to a curriculum designer to address this issue?

Rachna: Following are the needs of the curriculum:

  • Matching local needs to global challenges and integrating the two.
  • Global player without losing cultural sensibilities.
  • Stress on interdisciplinary links.
  • Providing a bridge between various disciplines — from region to country and country to world – connecting all the dots.
  • Enhancing international exposure with the effective use of media.
  • Recognizing commonality of essential human worth across countries.
  • Adopting best practices across cultures but tweaked to fit our needs.
  • Curriculum with an optimistic approach.
  • Each discipline has certain common challenges, identifying them and addressing them collectively.
  • Division of disciplines should not be rigid.
  • Only an enlightened teacher can handle it.

TPS: Do you think that we are moving from a ‘menu’ driven model of curriculum to a ‘Buffet model’ that offers more freedom of choice and caters to the personal aspirations of an individual learner. What kind of disciplines do you think are central to this ‘Buffet’ delivery?

Rachna: In my opinion, the Buffet model would mean:

  • I would interpret picking of a plate as willingness to learn life long.
  • The spread in front as mélange of choices.
  • Variety of cuisines akin to opportunities which are cross cultural and across national boundaries.
  • The selection and quantity depending on learners choice and desire (palatable to his constitution / aptitude).
  • To try as many and as many times, to go back to them and to eat at your own pace (your pace of learning).
  • A wide spread of desserts are the motivation and sweetness attained as a byproduct of learning .
  • A feeling of satiation which only independence of choice can provide.
  • A reluctance to leave the table translates into being ever willing to learn.

TPS: In the existing learning models, the learners are tested on what is delivered to them. Do you think the future holds promise for a learner to demonstrate his personal learning and achievements even in a composite and heterogeneous environment of the classroom?

Rachna: I think:

  • What we teach is limited by us. The concept the student is as good as his teacher is outdated.
  • Students are exposed to a gamut of learning tools and bring fresh inputs to table.
  • Might have outgrown the purview of teachers.
  • Limited scope for demonstrating his skills or earning credit for it.
  • The testing bodies are not interested in what you know but reproduction of what they have been forced to learn.
  • All learners do not have a composite heterogeneous environment – but in all environments it is difficult to look at the personal learning.
  • Create space to accommodate the value each student brings – change the scope and ambit of testing.
  • Students have grown beyond the defined realms — stretch boundaries.

TPS: What are the critical areas for the schools of the future to demonstrate their pursuit of excellence in education? Do you think that would be possible in the current models of school administration both at the micro as well as at the macro level?

Rachna: Critical areas will be :

  • Technology (not as a subject but tool).
  • Critical thinking through life skills.
  • Entrepreneurial skills ( development of leaders).
  • Capacity to follow effectively.
  • Communication driven learning — capacity to be able to relate and explain.
  • Capacity building to correlate various disciplines and view as a cohesive whole.
  • Well integrated with society – nobody is left behind.
  • Compassion and empathy building.
  • Acceptance and tolerance embedded in modules.

Let’s look at the possibilities at micro and macro level:

Micro Level:

  • School leaders at personal level are enlightened to try to experiment.
  • Experiment within constraints.
  • Integrate activities into curriculum.
  • Take up causes (social etc).
  • Try providing exposure.
  • Encourage inclusivity.

Macro Level:

  • Some rigidity (inflexibility).
  • System too huge to change.
  • Too many diversities make it a challenge.
  • Limited resources.
  • Official interference.
  • Unfriendly policies.
  • Your voice unheard.
  • Policy makers divorced from ground reality.

Rachna Pant, hails from a highly academic family, who is presently serving as Principal in Ramjas School, R.K. Puram, New Delhi. Carrying behind her a highly academic background, Rachna Pant is MA. M.Ed. and CIG, having won many prestigious and coveted awards, including the one received at the hands of Honb’le President of India, Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam, for her life long devotion to the cause of education. A Principal of outstanding caliber, educational expertise, author of repute, women of precision and an excellent administrator with high intellect, Rachna is also a CBSE Resource Person and a ELT Expert, having authored good number of language books, text books, value education books and general knowledge books. To her credit is also anthology of poems, titled, “Reflection.”

Rachna was the Founder Director Academic / Principal of the Global Indian International School, Bangkok. She started this 1st and only CBSE school in Thailand which had 3 boards ie. CBSE, Cambridge and International Baccalaureate.