4.2.1 More on Curriculum Development
The curriculum is the sum total of all training/teaching/lecturing and learning actions, whether implicit, explicit or hidden. This section seeks to support agricultural education institutions to work on holistic curriculum development actions, collaboratively with key stakeholders such as farmers, extension officers, researchers, and agribusiness promoters. According to Basil Bernstein (2000) Curriculum development and reproduction is not always a straightforward translation process because new demands are always coming to the agricultural education and training system.Curriculum development can be an intense process involving educators, curriculum developers, farmer representatives, and sometimes examiners. Once a curriculum is set and syllabi written, it is often difficult to add new material or information until a curriculum review process is set in motion (often after 5 years).
4.2.2 The Possibility of Curriculum Transformation
In line with the national post-apartheid transformation agenda, the South African evaluation of agricultural education and training highlights the need for agricultural education institutions to integrate rainwater harvesting and conservation among others in the curriculum (DAFF, 2008).
Curriculum transformation may be introduction of a new course to take account of emerging issues, or integration into an existing course or module. Curriculum innovation can take place through the educator’s working innovatively with what the curriculum demands, and ensuring that emerging issues such as rainwater harvesting and conservation and climate change and variability are well covered for the sake of social justice and in the true spirit of transforming livelihoods and ways of working.
4.2.3 The Role of the Educator in Curriculum Delivery
Most educators are only involved at the point of planning lessons/lectures and delivering them, although some may also be involved in ‘real-life’ practical applications. Each educator makes some very important decisions. These may be about how to start a lecture/lesson, what information to provide the students with or with what activities to practically engage students, e.g. developing and/or using a demonstration site. How these decisions are made is crucial because they will result in a good quality lecture/lesson or a poor one. With respect to rainwater harvesting and conservation the educator will need to decide whether this item/theme/ subject/topic exists in their syllabus or not, and if they do, with what depth and breadth they should deliver it to students, and within what time frame.
4.2.4 Curriculum Innovation and Agricultural Education Quality
Educational quality and relevance is to a large extent dependent on the innovation of the educator (lecturer/teacher). This professional is expected to balance between current curriculum delivery, examination demands (‘students must pass’), emerging/cross-cutting issues such as climate change, and responsiveness to farmer needs.
4.2.5 Two Different Ways of Approaching Curriculum Transformation for RWH&C
In education and development work, intervention can be summarised by two different approaches to achieving change in order to meet new or emerging challenges at work. One is “change interventions, which aim at reaching a predetermined objective, and (the other) formative interventions, which focus on creating a new concept and principle of carrying out an activity” (Virkkunen & Newnham, 2014 , p. 1).
Presentation 3.2 discusses Transformative Actions and Education Practices in detail. It provides guidance on what might be needed for effective changes in curricula and training programmes to promote the idea of RWH&C and the associated practices
Click on the booklet image below to access the Amanzi for Food Agricultural Education and Training and Curriculum Innovation Booklet. This booklet is a comprehensive guide to curriculum innovation.