International Handbook of Curriculum Research

By William F. Pinar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 19
Curriculum Planning
at the Threshold of the Third
Millennium: The Israeli Case
Naama Sabar
Yehoshua Mathias
Tel Aviv University, Israel

A review of the changes in curriculum planning in Israel from the establishment of the state to the present day shows a shift from a uniform curriculum to a multifaceted one. This development largely reflects sociocultural processes that have occurred in Israeli society and their influence on the educational system (Harrison, 1994; Sabar & Silberstein, 1998). In light of these social processes, curriculum planning in the third millennium will create new interrelationships between the compulsory elements dictated by the central authorities and those elements that are open to variability and reflect the range of educational and cultural interests in Israel. A historical survey of the development of curriculum planning in Israel since its establishment reveals this trend.

Another issue this chapter deals with relates to future changes in the knowledge the curricula represents and in the legitimate sources of this knowledge. Research on curricula indicates that the knowledge included in them depends on specific sociocultural contexts (Apple, 1990; Bordieu, 1979; Goodson, 1997). This distinction raises a series of questions about the social distribution of knowledge in curricula, the ownership of that knowledge, and the relationship between its distribution and economic and class stratification. Historical changes in the knowledge included in curricula, as well as in its conception and distribution, often denote changes in the balance of power between sociocultural groups—changes that are the outcome of struggles conducted within various arenas. However, in modern societies with complex educational and cultural systems, curricula are not merely reproductions of what is taking place in other sectors, but are influenced by autonomous educational factors too (Ringer, 1979). Hence, an analysis of changes in curricula must also seriously relate to the autonomy of the educational field and curriculum development as a professional realm in its own right.

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