Priestley M, Angier C, Schuler B & Smith J (2023) Towards a typology of curriculum policy approaches. UNESCO. Geneva.
This report identifies global trends in curriculum policy, drawing from analysis of curriculum frameworks from 64 jurisdictions – countries and states within federal countries. It does not provide a fully comprehensive picture of global curriculum policy, although we believe that it is broadly indicative of global trends. The research was constrained by the variation in information available in the public domain and in English from each jurisdiction. We also note that representations of national policy (e.g., on official websites) can quickly become out-of-date, due continually shifting policy patterns and changes to publicly available information. We are grateful to the UNESCO regional experts and international curriculum scholars who provided feedback on our draft, in some cases identifying areas where national policy had changed between our analysis of public documentation and the drafting of the report. It is clear that, given the frequent and rapid changes in curriculum policy, any approach to curriculum policy analysis based on static typologies can become obsolete. In this report, we thus suggest an alternative approach based on dynamic typologies which capture the direction of travel in curriculum policy, rather than trying to capture policy at a fixed point in time. We identify a number of common trends across the globe including:
• Similar discourses and terminology between contexts.
• A shared emphasis on education as a response to global and local challenges.
• A belief that education is the means through which individuals become equipped to contribute to society.
• The co-existence of multiple curriculum ideologies within the same policy, making it difficult to apply theoretical typologies to real-world policy.
Key distinctions across the globe include:
• Different understandings of shared concepts such as ‘competency curriculum’.
• Different core values and ethical stances underpinning curricula.
Empirical research is necessary to discern the complex relationship between curriculum policy and its enactment in any given setting.