NCCD responds to HarperCollins Curriculum criticism with insights

(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The adoption of the Amman-HarperCollins mathematics and science curricula by Jordan's National Center for Curriculum Development (NCCD) has stirred controversy, especially following the publication of opinions from the education sector in our article titled 'Controversy over Collins Curriculum.' In a previous piece, we shed light on the opposition voiced by parents of public-school students against the Collins Curriculum, which introduces new "experimental" science and mathematics books for students in first, fourth, and seventh grades.اضافة اعلان

In response, Dr. Omar Abu-Ghalyoun, the head of NCCD's mathematics curriculum development team, clarified to Jordan News that HarperCollins is a reputable publishing house renowned for creating school textbooks across diverse subjects.

Otherwise, they would not be among the select few curricula relied upon worldwide by students preparing for the IGCSE exams. He emphasized that NCCD had acquired the copyrights for the science and mathematics curriculum from HarperCollins publishers and had translated, customized, and localized them to suit the Jordanian educational system.

Contemporary Constructivism Learning Theory
He underscored the global practice of adopting this approach, wherein countries procure international curricula, translating and adapting them. This strategy aims to build upon educational progress made by leading nations. The HarperCollins mathematics and science curricula are rooted in the contemporary Constructivism Learning Theory, which prioritizes hands-on activities, exploration, and problem-solving over traditional lectures. This approach nurtures critical thinking and encourages learners to embrace ongoing challenges.

Despite misconceptions
Furthermore, the HarperCollins curriculum presents concepts progressively, aligning with the Spiral Structure of the Curriculum. This enables revisiting core concepts across various grades, reinforcing understanding. For example, the introduction of fractions occurs gradually over multiple grades, accompanied by periodic reviews. Despite misconceptions that this method adds unnecessary content, it effectively accelerates learning and addresses gaps.

Meanwhile, Mousa Tarawneh, Head of the Science Curriculum Development team, clarified that the selection of the HarperCollins curriculum was a deliberate choice based on input from Jordanian experts. Stringent criteria guided the selection process, culminating in HarperCollins winning the technical tender for mathematics and science. Jordan's education system follows a comprehensive framework, encompassing both general principles and specific subject-based guidelines. These frameworks, developed by experts and sanctioned by the Ministry of Education, align with international curricula.

Tarawneh highlighted the meticulousness of the translation process by experts and subsequent evaluation by experienced educators. Focus groups of teachers and supervisors assessed the suitability of textbooks, followed by rigorous academic reviews by renowned university professors.

Criticisms attributed to resistance to departing from the old curriculum
Further endorsement came from specialized councils at NCCD and the Ministry of Education. NCCD alleges that criticisms were attributed to resistance to departing from the old curriculum, despite the strides made by the new approach.

A survey supported the suitability of the curricula
Tarawneh revealed that a survey of over 100 high schools supported the suitability of the curricula, particularly for grade 12 science. The new math curriculum, supervised by Heba Tamimi, includes a wealth of exercises and problems to enhance understanding and procedural fluency. The intention is for students, rather than teachers, to engage with these exercises to optimize learning and class dynamics.

According to her, the new curricula, incorporates real-world examples and questions to engage students. Tamimi noted that after a year-long trial period, during which teachers and supervisors provided feedback, the curricula demonstrated strengths and areas for improvement. Notably, the detailed explanations within the science and math curricula facilitate self-directed learning.

Read more Features
Jordan News