Letschert, J., & Kessels, J. (2003). Social and political factors in het process of curriculum change. In J. van den Akker, W. Kuiper, & U. Hameyer (Eds.), Curriculum landscapes and trends (pp. 157–176). Dordrecht / Boston / London: Kluwer Academic Publis

ISBN: 1-4020-1797-9

In this chapter we describe a number of social and political factors that play an important role in curriculum reform processes. In processes of curriculum change the designers mostly focus on the intemal consistency of what they consider as their product. However, in major and delicate processes of change and reform, effective negotiation and deliberation are more important in order to reach so-called extemal consistency, i.e. homogeneity of notions of parties involved on what the problem is and how it should be solved by educational provisions (Kessels, 1993). Social and political engineering is an essential skill or attitude for a competent curriculum designer. In suchlike situations a relational approach is a suitably strategy. This approach is illustrated on the basis of the delicate process of introducing a set of core objectives in primary education in the Netherlands. Delicate, because of the traditional feature of freedom that has dominated the social and the political agenda for nearly a century. We will mention briefly some issues related to comparable developments in secondary education with regard to large-scale innovations. Finally, a reference is made to a large study conducted in the field of corporate education. In that study, competencies of successful curriculum designers where investigated while applying a relational approach. This relational approach may also offer assistance when solving problems in school reform.