Unit 5 Curriculum Studies (Part A)

Unit 5 Curriculum Studies (Part A)


In today's world of rapidly shifting resources and fast development of technology has affected curriculum development Universities education programmes that expect to survive must respond to the needs of the consumers and communities. Education is an instrument to bring about desired change in practice with curriculum as it is instrumental to achieve the goals of Education, which is to bring change in practice according to the changing needs of society and learner, utilizing available knowledge which is appropriate and communicable. 



Curriculum development is planned as per the levels and group for whom it is being planned. In the following text you will read about the broader concept, definition and levels of curriculum planning. 

Concept of Curriculum 

The term "curriculum" is derived from the latin word "currere", which means "run". Thus curriculum means a course to be run for reaching a certain goal or "destination" here education is imagined as a race, with its aim as the goal and curriculum as the course leading to that goal. So the term' "curriculum" came to signify a group of subjects or courses of study, arranged in particular sequence, for instructional purpose in school. 

A curriculum is more than just a syllabus or a statement of content. A curriculum is about what should happen in a teaching programme-about the intention of teachers and the way they make this happen. This extended vision of a curriculum is illustrated in Fig. 1.1. 


Thus the curriculum must include all the subject matter, teaching strategies, learners experiences and assessment of students, which a particular school or college of Nursing Plans for its students and which is developed by the members of its own curriculum committee. 

Cunningham has put curriculum as a tool in the hands of the artist (the teacher) to mould his material (the pupils) according to his aim and objectives in his studies (the school). 

Another concept of curriculum development is that it is a plan of logical sequence of correlated and integrated subjects, which students may pursue in the attainment of a given goal. 

According to the modern concept curriculum-does not mean only the academic subjects, traditionally taught in schools but it includes the sum total of experiences that pupil receives through the manifold activities that go on in the school, in the classroom, library, laboratory, workshop, play-grounds and in the numerous informal contacts between teachers and pupils. In this sense, curriculum touches the life of the students at all points and help in the evolution of a balanced personality. 

Thus a curriculum is a systematic arrangement of the sum total of selected learning experiences planned by a school for a defined group of students to attain the aim of particular educational programme. It is commonly formed as a "Programme of Studies". 

You have seen the curriculum is intimately related to education. While education is a process, the curriculum is a means to the process. While education is learning, the curriculum signifies the situation for learning. 

Let us see how the is curriculum defined.

Definition of Curriculum 

There are many definitions of the word curriculum. Three of the following definitions are accepted widely and used: 

Curriculum is a formal plan of educational experiences and activities offered to a learner under the guidance of an educational institution. It is more structured in schools and more flexible in higher education. 

A curriculum is a systematic arrangement of the sum total of selected experiences planned by a school for a defined group of students to attain the aims of a particular educational programmes. (Florence Nightingale International Foundation) 

A composite of the entire range of experiences the learner undergoes under the guidance of the school. (Lamberston Education for Leadership) 

Curriculum is viewed from a variety of perspective ranging from narrow and circumscribed to broad and encompassing. 

Review of literature revealed that common components in the definition of curriculum included the following. 

Components of Curriculum 

Curriculum is planned for a particulars educational programme. Hence, curriculum invariably includes: 

i) The statement of philosophy of the educational programme.

   ii) The statement of objectives of the educational programme. 


iiii) Total duration of the educational programme with break up of hours for theoretical and practical courses and supervised clinical experience and clinical practices, if any. 

iv)Learning experience for theory, practical and clinical component with their respective objectives, courses of studies, placement sequences and learnings situations. 

v) Instructional methods or methods of teaching for the theoretical, practical and clinical component of the educational programme. 

vi) Programme of evaluation to ascertain effectiveness of the educational programme through curriculum evaluation (covers evaluation methods, plat1 and schedule of evaluation and use of results of evaluation). 


The construction of curriculum is the responsibility of the school or college. Just as the Philosophy, resources and other condition vary from one school to another, so will the curriculum. The condition element in all the curricula in one state or country will be the requirements laid down by statutory body in the form of syllabus. 

Curriculum can be planned at three different levels as follows: 

The Societal Curriculum 

The Institutional Curriculum 

The institutional curriculum is one planned by a faculty for a clearly identified group of students who will spend a specified time period in a particular institution. It is this that is generally referred to when one speaks of a curriculum in a particular school. 

The Instructional Curriculum 

'The instructional curriculum consists of the content (subject matter and learning activities) planned day by day and week by week by a particular teacher for a particular group of students. 



Curriculum may be of different types to suit the requirement of the course. 

Let us now proceed to discuss about the types of curriculum. 

1. Subject Oriented Curriculum 

In this type, the teaching-learning experiences and evaluation are subject based. Most curriculum fall under this category. Student has to pass through various subjects or disciplines before successfully completing the course. Fragmented learning, piece-meal approach to learning are some of the problems with this type of curriculum. System based curriculum has been designed to rectify same of the deficiencies mentioned above. Hence the teaching-learning experiences and evaluation are system based. For, e.g., students lean1 all about musculo-skeletal system including clinical and therapeutic aspects before moving onto another system

2. Competence-based Curriculum 

This is also known as task oriented or activity based curriculum "what should a learner be able to do and what she should learn during the course?" is the basic question that drives the making of such a curriculum plan. The focus is on the tasks that a successful graduate Students need to do later as a competent professional. The tasks could be of cognitive problem solving skills, definitive communication skills or mixed type encompassing more than one domain. School curricula need to adopt this approach more widely. 

3. Experience-based Curriculum 

In this type curriculum learner is placed in the natural setting of the community. Perhaps community oriented nursing education is an ideal method of educating learners. 

4. Core Curriculum 

Core curriculum is defined as essential or key aspect of a subject or discipline covered in the curriculum for the study and mastery by all groups of students with the same level of learning. Core curriculum is about the competencies required of all students and here students study an area in depth e.g., process, quality assurance, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation are some of the topics of core course. 


To plan and develop meaningful curriculum faculty must closely examine and analyze various forces that provide direction for curriculum changes. Factors/ issues affections curriculum are discussed in the following paragraphs. 

1. Philosophy of Education 

Philosophy of nursing education is the vital factor in the curriculum as its forms the basis for the final selection of aims and objectives of the curriculum. To determine what changes are desired involves value judgements and is influenced by the underlying philosophy of the curriculum. 

2. Educational Psychology 

Educational Psychology provides the background for the principles of learning. There are individual differences among students, and the principles of educational psychology help in the selection and organization of learning experiences for students. 

3. Social Changes 

Social change has been brought about largely by the advances of science and technology, resulting in urban-industrial culture, which has brought in many health problems and they need to be taken into account while developing curriculum as they have implications for nursing practice. 

4. Epidemiology 

Epidemiology is the study of the description and determinants of the state of health and illness in human populations. Epidemiology provides nursing faculty with systematic ways to understand pattern of disease i.e. Characteristics of people at risk, environmental factors and shift in demographic characteristics of the population. 

In nutshell, nurse educators should develop curriculum that matches global characteristics. Nurse educators attuned of prevailing and visionary thinking can shape the future through progressive curriculum. 

5. Population Explosion 

Population explosion has led to the paucity of resources and it has brought about shift in the age structure towards elderly, which results from improved interventions for health and longevity, as well as decline in fertility rates and fewer births. Issues surroundings geriatric and small family norms are important areas, which need to be incorporated in curriculum. 


The success of a curriculum depends on certain principles, which need to be born in mind while developing a curriculum. These are: 

i) The purpose of Educational Objectives of the Programme should be  fulfilled. In nursing curriculum especially, it is essential that the purpose of capacity building for performance of the appropriate and relevant tasks demanded of the job responsibilities of the prospective nurses be attained. 

ii) The educational objective should be stated in clear, unambiguous and behavioural terms, which should be achievable and measurable. The development of objective will be discussed in Unit 2 of this block. 

iii) The third principle is that the students and teachers of the particular educational programme should have a clear perception of the expected results i.e., objectives as well as purpose of the educational programme. 

iv) The fourth principle is that the learning activities to provide learning Introduction to Curriculum experiences related to the theoretical, practical and clinical component and Construction I should be in conformity with the educational objectives of the  programme. 

v) The fifth principle is that the teaching-learning activities should relate to class room activities, clinical fields and community. ...FOR MORE CLICK HERE