Since 2000, many nations across the globe such as Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Kenya and Zambia have been adopting competence-based curriculums in their education systems. The curriculum is developed and implemented in line with a country’s competency framework that values the needs of learners and the local population for learning programmes (van Dinther, Dochy, & Segers, 2015).
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This has necessitated education systems in different nations to undergo systematic reforms in their primary and secondary school syllabi and programmes of study in all fields (Grinyova & Rezvan, 2016). In the competence-based curriculum, educators, the Internet, content understanding and books are identified as resources that require mobilisation by students to learn effectively (Mulder, 2017). Therefore, competencies should be created through a suitable solution of situational challenges that in turn ought to be motivated by or located in actual-life circumstances identified as broad fields of learning, for example, media knowledge, health and environmental conservation to mention a few.
Suryawati and Osman (2018) assert that in the competence-based curriculum, broad areas of learning are deemed vital and crucial for the creation of skills since abilities essentially evolve in situations. There is a need for teachers to be encouraged to promote the quality of education rather than directing efforts only towards the excellence of students, as well as performance in written examinations (Bajis, Chaar, Penm, & Moles, 2016).
Therefore, learning conditions require the incorporation of numerous essential knowledge components from a range of fields within a set of situational challenges. Such an incorporated and interdisciplinary situation also gives rise to opportunities for learners to acquire an interest in diverse areas or disciplines over and above an eventual capacity to operate in related professional occupations.
In his study, Okoli (2017) has established that despite inadequate preparation of teachers in most countries adopting the competence-based curriculum, problem-solving ability scores, interest in science-related careers and learners’ level of achievement express considerable increases although the magnitude of the effect is modest in most countries. The outcomes imply that curriculum reforms have moved pedagogical plans in the right course and that erudition in the consequent direction has improved (Makunja, 2016). Reduction in standard deviation may also show a given convergence of the entailed efforts because a lower number of learners’ performances are far-off from the mean (Mulder, 2017).
The relatively modest improvement in the achievement level of learners after the implementation of the competence-based curriculum may have two implications. One of them is that reforms have only started to portray their effectiveness and it will be possible to have a progressive rise of the benefits as the implementation proceeds to a more mature stage (Makunja, 2016). Another insinuation is that the competence-based curriculum has shown low effectiveness and the question of its value in consideration of the enormous resources spent may be raised (Makunja, 2016).
Wongnaa and Boachie (2018) state that it appears that the competence-based curriculum was designed to shift learning, and subsequently teaching, away from the conventional standards and nearer to the distinctive and relatively extensive objectives it has set. This may make it a plan of a compromise rather than one meant for general improvement in quality and learners’ achievement level (Hartono, 2017).
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The arising arguments regarding the effectiveness of competence-based curriculum can be heartening to programme designers since they see the possibility of orienting the whole school system through curricular reforms toward socially pooled aims (Amini, 2017). This is irrespective of the competence-based curriculum causing some crisis associated with media, consultations and forums in some countries such as Canada in recent years and established implementation challenges.
Amini, R. (2017). The development of integrated learning based students’ book to improve elementary school students’ competence. Unnes Science Education Journal, 6(2), 1-10. Web.
Bajis, D., Chaar, B., Penm, J., & Moles, R. (2016). Competency-based pharmacy education in the Eastern Mediterranean Region—A scoping review. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 8(3), 401-428. Web.
Grinyova, V., & Rezvan, O. (2016). Modernisation of primary school teachers’ training: From knowledge to competence approach. Advanced Education, (6), 111-114. Web.
Hartono, M. (2017). Model of supervision based on primary school teacher professional competency in thematic learning in curriculum 2013. Journal of Education Research and Evaluation, 1(3), 162-167.
Makunja, G. (2016). Challenges facing teachers in implementing competence-based curriculum in Tanzania: The case of community secondary schools in Morogoro municipality. International Journal of Education and Social Science, 3(5), 30-37.
Mulder, M. (Ed.). (2017). Competence-based vocational and professional education. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.
Okoli, A. C. (2017). Relating communication competence to teaching effectiveness: Implication for teacher education. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(3), 150-154.
Suryawati, E., & Osman, K. (2018). Contextual learning: Innovative approach towards the development of students’ scientific attitude and natural science performance. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 14(1), 61-76. Web.
van Dinther, M., Dochy, F., & Segers, M. (2015). The contribution of assessment experiences to student teachers’ self-efficacy in competence-based education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 49, 45-55. Web.
Wongnaa, C. A., & Boachie, W. K. (2018). Perception and adoption of competency-based training by academics in Ghana. International Journal of STEM Education, 5(1), 52-57. Web.