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Curriculum planning and decision-making process in secondary schools in Malawi

Dennis Danny Chimwenje, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Effective curriculum planning and decision making process is key to the success of educational programs. The problem with centralized educational systems is that, at the curriculum planning level, the system does not have sufficient data about the needs of the learner, teachers, and the expectations of the society at large for effective curriculum planning to take place. At the implementation level, the system does not give teachers the needed flexibility to implement the curriculum. The major purpose of this study was to investigate curriculum decision making process in Malawi. The research procedures used in this study consisted of systematic document analysis and interviews with selected educators. In addition, a survey of opinions of students, parents, teachers, and heads of schools was conducted. The findings of the study confirmed that the curriculum planning and decision making process in Malawi is centralized. It also found that curriculum planning and development process for the secondary school curriculum was not fully systematised. At the school level, heads of schools and teachers had very little say about the curriculum. The implementation of the curriculum was, therefore, not flexible enough to allow the curriculum to be modified to suit local conditions while at the same time meeting the nationally developed objectives. The following were some of the recommendations the study made: (1) Decisions about the curriculum should be broadly based. (2) The responsibility for national curriculum development should be vested in the hands of the Malawi Institute of Education. (3) The Ministry of Education and Culture should gradually institute a school-based management strategy in order to improve the effectiveness of schools. (4) Lines of communication between the school and the Ministry headquarters should be improved. (5) In order to encourage the application of knowledge and skills into practice, there is need to continue refining performance based assessment techniques for appraising student performance and for placement. It is hoped that the decentralization process now taking place within the education sector, will take into consideration the above recommendations in order to improve the quality of secondary education in Malawi.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Chimwenje, Dennis Danny, "Curriculum planning and decision-making process in secondary schools in Malawi" (1990). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9100513.