Curriculum Change and Development in Malawi: A Historical Overview
AbstractTo improve the quality of primary education in Malawi, the national government embarked on curriculum reform in 2001 and adopted an Outcomes Based curriculum in 2007. The new curriculum differs radically from its predecessors. This paper employs a historical approach to explore pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial curriculum change and development in Malawi. The origin and attributes of the present OBE curriculum is emphasized and an attempt is made to explain the forces and imperatives that shaped it. This conceptual paper focuses on the process and rationale that resulted in the decision to revive the primary curriculum in 2001 to come up with an outcomes-based curriculum, and the influence of the first post-apartheid South African curriculum (C2005, 1998) on the design features of the new curriculum in Malawi. It is based on primary sources such as curriculum documents and secondary sources on curriculum development in Malawi. The paper raises concerns relating to ‘unproblematic burrowing’ of curriculum policies from South Africa, given the review and revision of C2005 in South Africa in 2000.
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