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Influence of culture on curriculum development in Ghana: an undervalued factor?

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Curriculum implementation often falls short because of a lack of cultural understanding by curriculum developers and aid organizations. This paper describes a single-case study of a professional development programme for polytechnic Heads of Department in Ghana, which aimed at identifying how curriculum development activities were sensitive to culture. A conceptual framework for culturally sensitive curriculum development was applied to facilitate the identification of culture in the curriculum development process. Two curriculum specialists and various project members from Ghana and the Netherlands participated in the data collection by means of interviews, documents, and a researcher’s logbook. Results showed that the conducted curriculum development activities were strongly impacted by Hofstede’s cultural dimensions—High-Low Power Distance and Collectivism–Individualism and to a limited extent by Hall’s cultural dimensions—High-Low Context and Polytime-Monotime. The outcomes of this study strengthen the relevance of Context analyses, iterations of design–implementation–evaluation activities, and additional implementation support. Through the conduction of these activities, culture can be taken into account in curriculum development processes and a good fit between the developed curriculum and the local context can be ensured. Furthermore, this study encourages curriculum developers and project teams working in international cooperation contexts to create more cultural understanding by using the framework and by intensively collaborating with informed experts.
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Keywords: case studies; cultural context; culture; curriculum development; international cooperation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-04-01

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