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Common Core Curriculum rolls out in SHS, check full subjects

All is set for the rollout of the Common Core Curriculum in senior high schools (SHSs).

This follows a successful implementation of the curriculum at the junior high level three years ago, with the first batch of the pioneering group scheduled to write the maiden edition of the Common Core-based examination this year.

It also comes after the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) had completed a trial test of the curriculum during its development, with the relevant feedback used to finalise it.

A second trial test is currently being carried out in 31 schools across the country.

“The trial tests, which are done every two weeks, will continue until August, and the academic year will come alive in September.

“We are doing the trial test in all the 38 subjects, including the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects,” the Director-General of NaCCA, Professor Edward Appiah, said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Friday.

The interview sought to find out the preparedness of NaCCA to roll out the common core curriculum in the SHS following the successful implementation at the junior high school level.

Prof. Appiah said NaCCA had also developed teacher manuals and professional learning community (PLC) manuals, which were helping the teachers to know exactly what they were to teach.

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Vice-chancellors

To ensure that the subjects under the common core met the expectation of the subject combination in the tertiary institutions, he said at the beginning of the development of the curriculum, “we met with the vice-chancellors, and before we finished, we met them again, and after completing it, we met them for the third time.

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“When we met them for the third time, they were excited with the new development, even though they came with some views that they would want us to consider, which we have wholeheartedly taken and will look at it,” Prof. Appiah told the Daily Graphic.

He added that the vice-chancellors had also requested that they should be given the curriculum on the various subjects to enable them to set up their own committee.

Prof. Appiah explained that even though it had met with the vice-chancellors, the doors of NaCCA were still open for further engagements, adding that it was now left with the vice-chancellors to start the processes of realigning the subjects.

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Subject-based

He, however, said the new curriculum was not too much of a departure from what had been in place in terms of how students applied themselves to the universities.

Prof. Appiah explained that the new curriculum was based on subjects and not programmes as was the case over the years, stressing that the programme-based curriculum was restrictive for the students.

“It did not give the students flexibility, and this concern was among others we got from some stakeholders even before we embarked on the review of the curriculum.

“One of the concerns the universities gave then was that they need to have students’ subjects so flexible such that when they come to the university, they can have multiple programmes,” he added.

He, however, added that even though the new curriculum was not programme-specific but tailored towards subjects, it was done in such a way that “even if you are into Home Economics as a programme, you still can have some other subjects that allow flexibility for switching”.

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“What we are left to do, which is critical, is to engage the professional bodies such as the Ghana Institution of Engineers, the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, the Pharmaceutical Council, among others, because they also have a stake in the courses being done in the universities,” he said.

Mandatory subjects

Touching on the subjects taught in junior high schools, Prof. Appiah explained that the students would be writing eight mandatory subjects, and would be required to select one or two electives.

He explained that the spirit of the common core was that students were required to be examined in 11 subjects being taught in the schools.

The mandated subjects are English, Science, Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education, Mathematics, Ghanaian Language, Career Technology, Creative Arts & Design, while the elective subjects are Computing, Arabic and French.

Prof. Appiah said even though the schools were mandated to ensure that their students were examined in all the 11 subjects, the school that did not have an Arabic teacher or French teacher could choose Computing as the elective subject.

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