Globalising the curriculum: A case study of global - local curriculum policy tensions for an 'independent school'

Year: 2002

Author: Vidovich, Lesley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports a single case study from a larger research project on curriculum policy in non-government schools in a variety of English-speaking developed countries. The Singapore case study school is exceptional in terms of its rapid development of policy and practices aimed at globalising its curriculum. The strategies it employs provide valuable insights into curriculum policy development generally.

Globalising the curriculum of the school is a process which is being negotiated within constraints at the local level in Singapore. Such constraints include a government mandated central curriculum framework; pressures from parents that the school continue to perform at the top of the league tables based on local external examinations; and time limitations.

A series of curriculum policy tensions were revealed when teaching staff were interviewed, and many of these tensions coalesce around contradictions in global-local orientations. There is no intention to imply that these tensions will necessarily be mirrored in other schools in other countries. However, many schools are now developing curriculum within a context of globalisation, as well as national/state outcomes-based curriculum frameworks and league tables. Thus, this exploratory study provides 'food for thought' in supporting work towards the most desirable effects of a global curriculum orientation, while helping to avoid the least desirable effects.