23 SES 13 A, What Kind Of Curriculum Agendas Are Being Carried In Today’s Global Curriculum Movements?
My paper begins by contrasting the current curriculum reforms in England which emphasise all pupils' 'entitlement to knowledge' with the trends towards 'genericism' identified in the 2010 Special Issue of the EEJE which Lyn Yates and I edited and which arose from our symposium at ECER in Gothenburg in 2009. The paper will argue that two contrasting expressions of a 'universalist' model of the curriculum are emerging globally. One is centred around 'access to knowledge' and one around extending 'access to learning' to all. The first expression of universalism is embodied in disciplinary traditions and sees 'knowledge as entitlement for all'. It is widely criticised as being 'conservative and elitist in both its assumptions and likely consequences. The 'right to learn' version of universalism emphasises generic capabilities such as 'learning how to learn' and problem solving. It claims to free learning not only from the elitism of disciplines and their history in western colonial culture but that it respect all cultures and is applicable to all contexts. The paper contests the later view and argues that an 'entitlement to knowledge' must be the purpose of all education and the premise of any reform committed to social justice and greater equality.
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