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Content Section

Curriculum reforms: In search of innovative models for dynamic education systems (Prospects #168)

The present thematic issue of Prospects includes a series of actors who are working on curricula at various levels, often on different continents. By looking at curriculum through a variety of approaches, and in a variety of situations, these authors offer valuable insights into current and crucial issues, and thus contribute to the contemporary debate on curriculum development and reform.

Philippe Jonnaert and Geneviève Therriault provide a framework for all of the studies in this issue, indicating how each article contributes to our better understanding of curriculum development. Jean-Philippe Ayotte-Beaudet analyses definitions of competence in French-language studies. Seeking to identify a common semantic base for these definitions, he instead finds a plurality of definitions which ultimately converge on a single point: they all refer to cognitive resources.

Roger-François Gauthier describes a study of a curriculum reform that adopted the competency-based approach as the organizing principle for education programmes in five sub-Saharan African countries. Geneviève Therriault and Léon Harvey decode the effects that a reform of teacher training has on the students’ epistemological beliefs. Patrick Charland and Stéphane Cyr analyze a curricular approach adopted in the Republic of Niger for basic education, focusing on education programmes for mathematics based on a situated approach.

Rosette Defise chooses another entry point: the training of teacher trainers. Considering the major role that teachers play in the process of implementing curriculum reform, she describes how she has managed to change teaching habits and practices by integrating the pedagogical and teaching innovations set out in a curriculum reform.

Daniela Furtuna addresses the question of curriculum from the viewpoint of assessment. What makes her work so original is the variety of tools she has developed: based on these items, educators can assess the cognitive attainments of students who are following a curriculum reform that focuses on developing competencies.

PROSPECTS is UNESCO-IBE's Quarterly Review of Comparative Education.