MANILA, Philippines — The educational system in the Philippines now mandates one year of kindergarten before pupils enter the first grade.
Although the additional year of pre-elementary education allows the child to develop socially and learn the ropes of the schooling system, many would argue that the year is a waste academically. Because of the lack of standardized curricula in kindergarten, teachers are unsure of the proper subjects to teach their students. As a result, kindergarteners in the Philippines often learn the same material they will learn the following year.
Educators in the Philippines are not the only ones struggling to teach without standardized curricula. Around the globe, educational systems suffer because of a lack of consistency in expectations for students and teachers. Even the United States struggles with maintaining a standardized curriculum across grade levels.
Standardized curricula have been critiqued in the past for eliminating creativity in the teaching process. The benefits, however, seem to outweigh any negative aspects immensely. In light of this argument, the following is a list of five reasons to implement standardized curricula in any educational system.
Students perform better in structured environments. A standardized curriculum promotes a sense of structure for a school to maintain. When students must learn a certain amount of information in a given time period, a classroom must follow a structured schedule. Teachers’ assignments and lesson plans become more organized, making them easier for the majority of children to follow.
2. Consistency across districts
If a student switches school zones, he or she may be behind or ahead of the pupils in a new school depending on what the old school taught at each grade level. For example, a child who lives in an area that teaches its students long division in fifth grade would be behind students in a neighboring community that learn long division in fourth grade. If that child moves to the neighboring community and switches to its school just before fifth grade, he or she will struggle in mathematics and may never have an adequate opportunity to learn the skill of long division.
3. Guidelines for teachers
Developing countries’ educational systems often suffer from an insufficient number of teachers or — even more commonly — an abundance of under-qualified teachers. With a standardized curriculum in place, even teachers that lack certain qualifications can teach children more effectively. The curriculum would give these teachers specific instructions on what topics to cover and how to assess students.
4. Definitive expectations for students
Standardized curricula ensure that all students in a particular zone are held to the same standard academically. Grading systems operate more fairly. In theory, all students will acquire the same knowledge and similar skill sets from formal primary and secondary education, significantly eliminating the possibility of someone being disadvantaged academically later in life.
5. Standardized testing
Many countries would like to improve their educational systems. Unfortunately, schools are so varied that educational boards and government systems do not know where to start. By looking at standardized test results, educators can quickly tell which areas of education need to be taught differently to improve a child’s education. Standardized testing is feasible only with some sort of standardized curriculum in place.
Standardization provides the structure necessary to support improvement in an educational system’s infrastructure. Whether in the United States, the Philippines or any other country, standardized curricula make a child’s learning experience more effective.