Understanding the sustainability of achieved results
The idea of sustaining curriculum changes has its roots in systems theory (Swerissen, 2007). “Systems are sets of interacting and adaptive structures and processes which together produce functional outputs and outcomes. They are characterised by their capacity to maintain their functional outputs and outcomes within desirable parameters while adjusting and adapting to variations in inputs” (ibid.). Understanding how to sustain achieved curriculum changes through a revision process implies a deeper look into the factors that sustain changes in the long-time. In other words, there is need for understanding first how a successful curriculum revision process works and second why curriculum changes achieved fail to last. In relation to the first question, Johnson (2001) came up with six recommendations for successful curriculum revisions:
- Direct involvement of educators and administrators in the curriculum revision process
- A long time frame for training and revisions
- Continuous assistance to participants during the revision process
- The review process must be consistent throughout the revision process
- A necessary combination of internal and external expertise is needed
- Better understanding of the curriculum, curriculum review, and curriculum needs by those involved.
The second question relates to the fact that successful curriculum change means developing programs which are appropriate to the context and environment they are going to be implemented. Contextual factors include all those deriving from the above six recommendations for successful curriculum revision. Accordingly, factors that refer to human resource development through the development of appropriate capacity building programs, co-operation among the key stakeholders, the establishment of effective rewards and incentives and building the appropriate infrastructures. These are further elaborated in the next section.