How Much Does Curriculum Matter?

There seems to be a focus on schools that offer the British curriculum versus pure Nigerian curriculum. The question is why and whether the preference for non-Nigerian curricula is warranted.

EducationIn speaking with an educator at a school that offers a British curriculum, she mentions that parents she deals with mention their preference for British curriculum for several reasons. One being that some of the parents who elect to go for British curriculum anticipate sending their children abroad for secondary school and thereafter university so they might as well get used to the British curriculum early. This is largely due to the fact that there is no confidence in the quality of the secondary and tertiary schools in Nigeria.

The British curriculum focuses on each child and builds on each child’s strengths and weak areas. Children of all abilities are mixed in each class are carried along with individual education plans for each student. The traditional Nigerian curriculum is mostly rote and focuses largely on academics, the British curriculum places more focus on ensuring that the child learns and understands and is able to apply the knowledge. In addition the British curriculum places a lot of emphasis on extra curricular activities to ensure a well rounded child.

More than this though she mentions that parents must be involved in their children’s lives. How can a teacher get the best out of the student when the parents are not invested in the child’s performance. She mentions for example lack of attendance at parent teachers conferences and other avenues for dialogue between teachers and parents is alarming She expressed disappointment that at this point in the term with 3 weeks or so to go before vacating for Christmas,  she hasn’t met parents of students in her class! Indeed she worries about the lack of interest some parents show and sees this in the bad behavior of her students. The well behaved students invariably have parents and mostly mothers who are invested and show interest in the academics, by being involved in their education and making interaction with their children’s’ teachers a priority. Teachers have a unique perspective and understanding of your child that a parent should understand and be hungry to understand.

Her parting words are its not only about the curriculum that the school offers, this is not the beginning and end of the child’s learning. Parents must be involved in their children’s learning and not leave kids to the nanny syndrome.  The nanny syndrome risks producing children who have everything done for them and having wrong values instilled in them. She also wishes to caution parents on the exposure children have these days, from the web, email use and other sources of media, children are almost too aware for their ages and parents must monitor them. It will amaze you that children not even 10 are discussing bi-sexuality!  If caution is not taken we risk raising children who are not independent and low morals, badly behaved children will become badly behaved adults.

Lastly she cautions parents who are in a hurry to send their children abroad or to boarding school for secondary school, if you have not instilled the right morals in the kids when you see them everyday what do you expect to happen when they go away from home at 11, 12…..and become someone else’s responsibility.

picture courtesy

Food for thought