Essay: Science in the curriculum

According to the policy for curriculum development 2005-2009, the school curriculum aims to equip the students with capacities of the parallel and balanced intellectual, spiritual, mental and physical growth and development. In particular in Science education, the students should appreciate the value and importance of science, technology, innovation, creativity and able to protect and preserve their natural, social and cultural environment, when they leave from school education (MoEYS, 2004). In order to achieve this goal, the school curriculum should enable students to attain a high level of knowledge and skills in Sciences, including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth and Environmental studies. For instance, the aims of Science education in the basic education (grade 1-9), students should acquire the everyday life skills and basic understanding of the natural world and scientific principles. While Science education in upper secondary school curriculum (grade 10-12) aims to provide everyday life skills and broad understanding of the natural world and scientific principles to the students. From these reasons, Science subjects are taught through K-12. However, during the early years through K-6, science is taught as integrated subject by the same home room teacher. However, from grade 7 through 12, science is taught as independent subjects- Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Science.
Generally, the purpose of science in the curriculum is varied from one country to another due to their cultures and society’s needs. Cambodia has entered a period of demographic dividend with more young people working to support society. The most important priority for the Cambodian government is to provide technical, vocational skills and also life skills to the young people so that they can contribute to social and economic development, and especially attract investment in the high value-added sectors like electronics, processing, and agro-business industries (MoEYS, 2014). The current curriculum for secondary school was developed by the MoEYS in 1997. The objectives of the science subjects in the upper secondary curriculum are to equip students with knowledge and skills: a broader understanding of the natural world and scientific principles and personal development to contribute to Cambodian society. In particular, the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs offered different levels of training in various areas, including vehicle repairing, general mechanics, computer technology, agricultural mechanics, electricity, electronics, repairing of cooling mechanics, and civil engineering (UNESCO, 2008).
The contents and the format of the science textbooks and the methodology of teaching and learning science presented in the teacher books apparently focus on the learning of science based on memorization of scientific facts as a foundation for further studies. Due to teachers’ limited knowledge of the subject contents, when it comes to application, most teachers understand it as application of formula to do practice exercise or solve problems (Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA], 2012). It is traditionally observed that a popular teacher in a school is one who can hold a good memorization of the formula and contents of the subjects.

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