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Title: Social difference, cultural arbitrary and identity : an analysis of a new national curriculum document in a non-secular environment
Authors: Borg, Carmel
Mayo, Peter
Keywords: Education -- Curricula
Differentiation (Sociology)
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Borg, C., & Mayo, P. (2001). Social difference, cultural arbitrary and identity: an analysis of a new national curriculum document in a non-secular environment. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 11(1), 39-64.
Abstract: This article focuses on the idea of the Curriculum as a 'selection from the cultures of society' and as a site of contestation for legitimacy and identity affirmation. The purpose is to shed some light on the nature of curricular reform being advocated in a specific context - Malta. Throughout the past four years, there has been a revamping of the National Minimum Curriculum (NMC) document in Malta, established in 1988. The 'old' National Minimum Curriculum was subject to criticism focusing on a variety of issues (echoing criticisms levelled at similar National Curricula elsewhere), including issues concerning difference and identity. The first part of the article deals briefly with the issues concerning difference raised in this criticism, focusing on the issues of class, race/ethnicity, gender and disability. The second part focuses on the long and gradual build up towards the development of the new National Curriculum document. The process centres around two documents, the preliminary Tomorrow's Schoolsdocument and the draft NMC document. The issues of equity and the affirmation of social difference, as well as the move towards de-streaming, are discussed. It is argued that this process of reform benefited from the criticism of the earlier NMC document. The process of reform involved an attempt at widespread participation by various stakeholders - parents, teachers, students, unions, women's organisations, disabled person's organisations etc. The final section focuses on the final new NMC document. In this section, the authors explore the compromises, which have been made in reaction to the draft document, indicating the interests at play. Whose cultural arbitrary is reflected in the final document? The article concludes with a discussion centring around lessons to be drawn from a process of curricular reform, involving issues related to identity and difference, carried out in a country characterised by a non-secular environment.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacEduAOCAE
Scholarly Works - FacEduES

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