The paper “ Nеw Zеаlаnd’ s Histоriсаl Curriculum in Eduсаtiоn” is an intriguing variant of literature review on education. Since 1877 to date, New Zealand’ s national education curriculum has been revised at regular intervals. Consequently, from time to time schools were forced to accommodate the new changes in the curriculum. Since the mid-70s, the education system has witnessed far-reaching and radical educational changes which are similar in their scale, nature, and scale to those that have transformed the education curriculum in the U. K. Successive governments from both side of the political divide attempted to introduce reforms to update the education curriculum developed in the light of the post-war consensus of the 1942 Thomas Report.
It is not just politicians and governments who attempt to bring reforms in the curriculum from a range of ideological standpoints (Ministry of Education, 1993). The private sector, curriculum reformers, parents, researchers, teachers, and students, these groups also tried to influence New Zealand’ s curriculum development for many years. Two recent publications have analyzed the whole process of curriculum development and these publications have draw attention to how the process of curriculum development operates (Openshaw, 2004). The content of curriculum development is contestable and ideological, selective, and privileges some people over others.
According to Pinar et al (1995), curriculum development is a changing terrain and dynamic” (p. 7), it is developed from society’ s traditions of language and beliefs, ideas and practices, and becomes the site on which people struggle to defend themselves in the world. According to O’ Neill, Clark & Openshaw (2004), “ Curriculum development is shaped by its political and social context, and can be understood as: a political, cultural and social construct or process, assumptions, embracing values, basic knowledge, fundamental beliefs about the world and visions of utopia which may or may not be obvious” ( p. 24). Curriculum development is shaped and informed by views of the world and society.
This paper demonstrates ways in which political and world events have influence curriculum development in New Zealand. According to Lee & Lee (2003), governments have used learning institutions to transmit important values to their citizens. It is through curriculum development that these ideologies and values are passed on from one generation to another.
Clarence Beeby and Peter Fraser transmitted their beliefs and ideologies through the curriculum development in the 1930s and 1940s; Thomas Report is also another example of this (O'Neill, 1996). The 19th and early 20th centuries Curriculum DevelopmentThe first curriculum in New Zealand was developed after the Education Act of 1877, included geography as a core subject, and history as a subject which students were at will to withdraw if they wanted to avoid racial bias (The Education Act, 1877). By 1928, the social aspect of curriculum development was seen in the topic suggested because they emphases on social service, responsible citizenship, and the worth of a person.
Also included in the curriculum were business methods and character training. Some of the history topics included: rules; clubs; care of the public property; laws everyone had to obey; the flag; conduct in the street; Parliament; councils and taxes; mayors; the national debt; government departments; and the meaning of true citizenship (O'Neill, 1997).
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