Curriculum design in higher education: A reflection


  • Kemlall Ramsaroop Ramdass UNISA
  • Kgabo Mokgohloa Unisa



curriculum development;systems theory;


The ideology of curriculum design is believed to be the core of teaching and learning, yet it is in direct opposition to current notions of curriculum development. The contextual factors that underpin teaching and learning are derived from curriculum design. The principal factors that influence what is being taught may be categorised into three levels: the macro, meso and micro. At the macro level, there are national and international influences such as globalisation, massification, and marketization. Also, socio-economic, and political influence may be included. At the meso-level the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and institutional level influence is forthcoming. Issues such as policies, culture, location, student profile and so forth are examined. Also, external influence from employers, professional bodies, accreditation bodies, quality agencies as well as political redress is evaluated. The micro-level examines individual academics and support staff concerning personal theories, beliefs, and professional knowledge. Systems theory in the educational context views the institution as a system where there is an interaction of variables of input, process and output that enable learning to take place. Because of the complexity and nature of curriculum design, there is limited change in this critical sphere of the education system. This paper reflects on the design and development of a curriculum in an open distance learning higher education institution.