By Syed Mustafa Ahmad 

Curriculum has been defined in many ways according to the needs  of the times.  Some decades ago, traditional curriculum was in dominance. It is  also called bookish curriculum. It focuses  on books, exams, discipline, fixed time tables, paper degrees,etc. However, it is  against the individual differences. Same kind of syllabus was for different children. There is no scope for critical thinking. Status quo reigns everywhere.  

      But with the revolution in information technology, the need for the modern curriculum has increased more than before. The present age is the age of AI, Robotics, Quantum mechanics, etc. Innovation is the order of the day. Men have started to colonize other celestial bodies. There are chances of life on other planets  as well. The calculations that used to take thousands of years, are done in few seconds. Men have surpassed the speed of light. Gene scissors are in the market to protect us from lethal diseases. Carcinogenic diseases are controlled. In this way, there can be no liking for the traditional curriculum that only choked the rational voices. Let us contrast both curricula in some detail.

      First is that the traditional curriculum is about books. Books are more important than children. Education is imparted in specialized buildings. There are strict teachers and management. There are fixed classes in a day. Teachers prepare what they have to teach in a particular period. They try their best to complete the syllabi. They, by hook or crook, complete their syllabi and prepare students for examinations while the modern curriculum is child-based. All the focus is on  a child. His or her differences are known in the beginning. His or her psychology is understood so that teaching or learning becomes easy and fruitful. Here, a child is free to learn according to his or her taste. There are no specialized buildings for this curriculum. A child learns everywhere. He is trained in such a way that every experience becomes learning for him. He looks at animals. He doesn’t dread them. In cases of beautiful landscapes, he or she tries to know its Creator. This is the best characteristic of the modern curriculum.

       Second is that the traditional curriculum is exam-dominated. Children, from the very beginning, are frightened that they have to pass with flying colors. They are in constant fear that if they don’t get a distinction or a position, they will be treated harshly. They, instead of reading textbooks, find short cut ways to get good marks. In this way, they become addicted to the hand made notes and guides prepared by some unknown persons. They learn questions and answers without knowing their crux. They become good in rote learning. In this way, the marvellous brains are lost. However, in case of the modern curriculum, there is no space for exams. A child learns different subjects and skills at the same time to be the master of those subjects or skills. He or she is expert in dealing with his or her subject because he or she likes to learn those very subjects. There is no thrust upon them. They learn what they learn. They use their creative powers to go against the views of their teachers. Children don’t believe blindly. Curriculum teachers them to criticize.

      Third and last is paper degrees. In the traditional curriculum, degrees matter the most. A teacher without a particular degree is deemed unfit for teaching. However, he or she may be expert in his or her subject but she or he does not possess the required degree, he or she is unfit for that very post. But in case of the modern curriculum, there is no need for paper degrees. A rickshaw puller can be an engineer. Jack Ma, the founder of Ali Baba, can be the source of inspiration for those who have doctorates in many subjects. 

       In short, there should be such kind of curriculum that can know the individual differences in  children. Until and unless the individual differences are unknown, we cannot think of any progress. Let us embrace the curriculum that makes child a child. I request parents and teachers to embrace the curriculum that is reasonable. Overall, we are living in the age of Science and technology which needs a totally different approach.  Hope good sense prevails among all of us.