Then National, Wednesday 12th September, 2012
PLANS to exit the outcome-based education (OBE) should be something that the minister responsible and the government must give
careful thought before execution.
From a language curriculum development angle, there are a number of syllabus, but with different theories of language and learning.
The current language curriculum employs the text-based approach that integrates authentic texts with language teaching, viewing language as part of a whole text that is embedded into various social contexts.
The issue of students today not being able to communicate effectively in English is not a result of OBE but the introduction of Tok Pisin at the elementary level.
English teachers at the secondary level and universities have to cope with errors that were not as prevalent before the introduction of Tok Pisin as a medium of instruction.
OBE is a shift from the old psychometric paradigm referred to as the norm-referenced system of education, where students were compared with one another and only those deemed “smart enough” passed.
Assessment was mainly on testing, which distinguished the “intelligent” from the average and below average.
The new paradigm is standardsbased education, which caters for criterion-referenced assessment.
It is not focused entirely on testing, and does not compare students with each other, but encourages learning for individual learners.
Hence, targets are set so that students are aware of objectives and assessment criteria so that they know what is expected of them.
One of the main reasons why OBE has been met with a lot of opposition is teachers are not familiar with it.
Experts who developed the curriculum should have created awareness of the approach, its benefits and how to implement it.
That way, teachers would be more prepared to handle the new system.
The OBE is good as it focuses on the students, encourages interaction and makes them critical thinkers.
It develops a lot of high-order thinking skills (analysing, synthesising, evaluating), which is vital for our youths in a global society.
Reverting to the former curriculum may make the job of teachers easier, but would give way to an education system that encourages mostly low-order thinking skills of remembering, understanding and applying what they know to pass tests.
It would be ideal for the education minister to make a well-informed decision as it will determine the
kind of human resource that we, educators, will prepare for tomorrow.
The government needs to carry out awareness among teachers through in-service programmes.
If we want to promote high-equity; education for all, high standards and develop life-long learners, then we should give OBE a chance.
I am sure Papua New Guineans who are knowledgeable in this regard will be willing to assist for
the betterment of our education system.
Jessica Kiruhia Wohiemani