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Nation should attempt to regulate school curriculum - one for all students

MBA_bound 2 / 2  
Oct 24, 2012   #1
"A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum"

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation above and explain your
reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific
circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain
how those examples shape your position.

There are two main problems with the recommendation. The first is the idea that a nation should attempt to regulate school curriculum. The second is that should this regulation be successful, there should only be one curriculum for all students.

Anyone who has worked with special needs students understands that there are certain concepts which are incomprehensible to these students. For this reason, they cannot be expected to undertake the same curriculum as typical students. This reason uncovers a problem with the claim that countries should mandate the same curriculum for all students. By assuming that all students are capable of following the same curriculum, the author of the claim has missed a significant portion of the student population--students with special needs. Students attending alternative schools are another example of those who cannot [possibly] follow the same curriculum as the general population.

Another assumption the argument seems to make is that all students are preparing to enter college. This is not the case. Many children view high-school as the last stage of their formal education. A vocational curriculum (focusing on practical skills valuable in a career within the workforce) would be better suited for these students than the curriculum designed for students who do plan to enter University.

So far we have three curriculums (one for special needs students, one for vocational students, one for pre-University students) a nation would have to regulate, if it felt the need to regulate curriculums. In addition to belying the idea that a single curriculum should be allowed, this brings up another question. Should the national government try to strictly control school curriculum (whether one curriculum or several)? I don't think so. Not only would it encounter the problems discussed earlier (having to manage multiple curriculums for different groups), it would undoubtedly face resistance from parents who disagree with the curriculum. I believe parents and students should have the right to choose private or home schooling over public school. Education gained in a parochial school or (especially) at home is different from that obtained in a governmentally-funded school. As with the special needs students, it would be impossible to expect all such (private or home schooled) students to follow the same curriculum as typical students.

The final reason which weakens the claim is the fact that each region of a nation has different interests and different notions of education. This is particularly true in larger, more diverse countries. For this reason, I feel that local governments should have considerable autonomy when it comes to education. For example, in the United States, the states (not the federal government) are able to standardize curriculum in public schools, and county and parish governments have additional discretion in running their local schools. In my opinion, when this model is adhered to (local governments controlling different curriculums for different types of public schools, and citizens having the right to administer alternative methods of education, if they so choose), students have the best chance of succeeding--in whatever path they choose after their secondary schooling is complete.

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