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School-based curriculum development: Redefining the term for New Zealand schools today and tomorrow

Rachel Bolstad


This paper draws from a background paper prepared for the Ministry of Education: School-based curriculum development: Principles, processes, and practices.

The term "school-based curriculum development" (SBCD) had great currency in 1970s and 1980s educational literature. However, in many countries the term dropped out of use during the late 1980s/early 1990s.

In the 1970s and 1980s, SBCD was seen as a solution to many of the problems of school education. These included perceptions that centralised curricula were too slow to keep pace with changing social and educational environments. SBCD was also strongly tied to a view that teachers should be developers, rather than simply transmitters, of curriculum. Today, central concerns for SBCD include developing school curricula to reflect local needs, bringing students and other people into the school curriculum development process.

The current New Zealand Curriculum/Marautanga Project has sparked renewed interest in SBCD.

This paper argues that a new meaning for SBCD must be developed to reflect the current context, and future directions for New Zealand schools, and this will require renewed discussion about many aspects of New Zealand curriculum and schooling practice.

Paper presented at the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) conference, Wellington, 24-26 November 2004.

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