Reconsider curriculum


THE initiative taken by the Education Department in partnership with Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) to introduce standards-based education (SBE) coffee curriculum for grades 6 to 12 is an important step forward.
It is also in line with the Government’s policy on reviving the agriculture sector in the country.
Students will now be taught how to be productive in managing, processing and marketing coffee and even become successful coffee entrepreneurs in their communities after leaving formal education.
Agriculture is the backbone of Papua New Guinea.
More than 85 per cent of PNG’s population in the rural areas depend on agriculture for survival.
Therefore, the Education Department has taken the right step in introducing a coffee curriculum to be taught in schools.
However, coffee is only one of the cash crops among few others produced by PNG.
Cash crops such as cocoa, copra, tea, vanilla and are produced in the country as well.
I see that the coffee curriculum is quite narrow and one-sided in the sense that it is about only one cash crop.
Other cash crops are left out in that curriculum.
Only a few provinces produce coffee and if coffee curriculum is to be taught in all schools in the country, it will not be relevant to all students.
The development and implementation of such curriculums can possibly lead to disproportionate attention given to a certain area of a curriculum at the expense of others without appropriate adjustments and inclusion in the other priority areas.
If other content areas of the curriculum are to be included separately later, it may fragmentise the contents that can be taught in individual units under one subject area.
This can lead to a lopsided and imbalance curriculum for implementation in the education system.
In order to avoid such curriculum issues, the Education Department, through its curriculum development in partnership with other commodity stakeholders such as the PNG Cocoa Board can include the contents of other major cash crops in one curriculum.
Contents about coffee can be arranged and taught under one unit so that it can create room for other cash crops to be taught in separate units under one subject area.
This can be done through embedding the units into what already exists in the subjects such as making a living for grades 6, 7 and 8 students.
For grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 students, these units can be taught under agriculture.

James Iki,