How difficult is it for countries to change their school curriculum?

post by tailcalled · 2022-12-03T21:44:56.830Z · LW · GW · 3 comments

This is a question post.

For instance, I imagine that if you introduced a new subject, it would be very expensive to make teachers be able to teach that subject. I suspect that to be the main constraint, but I'm not sure.


answer by Dirichlet-to-Neumann · 2022-12-03T23:10:16.449Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Training teachers is probably the main physical cost (it was a big problem for computer science in France), but the main social obstacle is the opposition to change from basically everyone : parents don't want their children to learn different things than they did, teachers don't want to lose curriculum hours to make room for new subjects, and administrators don't want to risk making anything new.


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comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2022-12-04T23:44:41.038Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It depends. Can you give some indication of what coalition with this intent you assume? 

  • A strong majority of the government is in favor of introducing the subject (say, >60%).
  • A group of experts advising the government has strong evidence that the subject provides large societal value (say, equal to an expected increase of GDP by 1%).
  • The general population has a consensus that the new subject is valuable (in some clear but not necessarily precise sense, e.g., "good for future job prospects").
  • The teachers that will teach the subject are generally in favor of it (either enough of the existing teachers who will have to do this, or the experts who will have to teach the future teachers). 
  • The administrative organs of the government are given the order to implement the new subject, e.g., by passing a suitable law (assuming the administrative organs are sufficiently capable of doing so).

Additionally, I guess we assume that adequate monetary means are available for this endeavor, right? It is an investment, the new subject will start to pay off after 20 years earliest (30 if you have to teach the teachers), right?

comment by tailcalled · 2022-12-03T21:48:59.959Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not sure whether setting this up as a related question that is hidden from the front page was the best approach. Maybe I should have selected that it should be posted to the front page instead. First time I'm using "Ask Related Question".