03 SES 08 B, Early Childhood Education Curriculum
Situation of pre-school curriculum development and implementation: Lithuanian case.
Prior to 2007 the pre-school curriculum was developed and implemented in a centralised way. The authorities of pre-school education institutions followed national curricular of pre-school education, which provided for goals, objectives, principles, values of pre-school education, specific content of children’s education, strategies of its implementation and peculiarities of educative environment. During the period of 2005-2007 it was decided to completely decentralize pre-school curriculum development and its implementation. The country did not provide any national guidelines containing the goal, objectives, principles, values, outcomes of children’s education. From 2007 to 2012 pre-school education institutions were implementing curricular developed in their institutions.
The problem of the research. Under such obvious changes, theoretical and empiric evaluation of benefit and problems of fast transition from fully centralized to completely decentralised pre-school education curriculum and that of needs of participants in these processes and trends of new political decisions acquired utmost importance.
Theoretical substantiation of decentralisation model. The analysis of features of decentralisation of pre-school education curriculum in the country reveals radical decentralisation (Bodine F.E., 2005), i.e., education institutions are provided with full autonomy regarding pre-school education curriculum and complete responsibility for outcomes of children’s education. Minimal regulation at national level is absent and minimal regulation is only available at the level of establisher of an educational institution. Decisions regarding decentralisation of pre-school education curriculum management were of political nature: education policy makers at national level decided to delegate function of pre-school education curriculum development and implementation to educational institutions (Becerra L.A.M.,2012). The was no ‘bottom–up’ need for that (Rado P., 2001; McGinn N., Welsh T., 1999; Lopez M.J.G., 2006); on the contrary, a strong resistance was felt ‘from the bottom’. The formed model for management of pre-school education curriculum may be referred to as a local administrative-professional one because the quality of curriculum depends on efficiency of activities of administration staff and professionalism of teachers in educational institutions (Baltušnikienė J., 2009; Zhu J., 2012). Following the optimal model for systemic reform in post-communist models suggested by P. Rado (2001) and other models (Pollard A., 2008; Kwon Y-I., 2002; Urbanovič J., 2011), the sub-system of pre-school education curriculum management aimed to substantially solve several strategic objectives: decetralisation and liberalisation, new concept of quality, equal opportunities for education and accessibility of (self-)education. The presentation provides the scheme and decription of model for decentralisaton of pre-school education curriculum. All this influenced the quality of pre-school education curricular.
The research questions:
What are positive and negative effects of transition from centralisation to radical decentralisation on the quality of pre-school education curriculum?
What most important needs of pre-school education curricular developers emerged in the process of decentralisation and what changes occurred in them over 5 years?
What are possible innovative decisions at national level, which do not encourage standardisation of pre-school education curriculum and children’s achievements?
The goal of the research: to identify impact of radical decentralisation on quality of pre-school education curriculum and participants in the processes of decentralisation.
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