Curriculum continuity and school to university transition: science and technology programmes in Malawi

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1 Curriculum continuity and school to university transition: science and technology programmes in Malawi D. C. Nampota University of Malawi Zomba, Malawi Abstract This paper reports a study that eplored issues of curriculum continuity at the school to university level transition in Malawi. It bases its analysis on the school integrated science curriculum and university science and technology programmes. Data were collected through interviews, documentation and classroom observations. The findings show that gaps do eist, with both the 'intended' and the 'delivered' curriculum, between integrated science and the demands and requirements of university science and technology programmes on the three categories of the knowledge of science, science as a way of knowing and general knowledge and skills. With respect to the investigative nature of science, gaps eist only with the delivered curriculum. Implications for both the integrated science curriculum and the university science and technology programmes are discussed. Key words: Curriculum, transition Introduction The transition of students from school to university has been an important feature of research in higher education, especially in the USA and Australia, for decades (see, for eample, Tinto, 1983; Pargetter et al., 1998). The general aim in most of these studies was to identify the impediments to successful transition of students that had been eperienced as problematic in many of their universities. In recent years, a few additional studies have also been reported in the United Kingdom (Lowe & Cook, 2003). Most of these studies have, however, centred on general academic and social issues despite the identification of curriculum continuity and lor discontinuity as one factor that affects the transition of students from one level of an educational system to another (Hargreaves et ai.1996). If transition is to be successful and students are to be retained in the universities, there is a desirability for continuity of curriculum from school to university. The study discussed in this paper sought to investigate curriculum continuity issues at this level of transition. It bases its analysis on the school integrated science curriculum and university science and technology (S&T) programmes in Malawi. The overall aim was to find out whether or not the recently introduced integrated science curriculum could prepare students adequately for the demands and requirements of university S&T programmes. Before describing the research and its findings however, it is important to state what the notion of curriculum used in this paper comprises and therefore how curriculum continuity was interpreted for our purposes. The concept of curriculum Ellis and Mackey (1988) have traced the linguistic origins of the term 'curriculum'. It originated from the Latin word 'currere' meaning 'race course' or 'track' in English and this course of a race eventually became 'course of study'. More recent definitions have however been more elaborate. Walker (2003) for eample defines curriculum as 'a particular way of ordering content and purposes for teaching and learning in schools' (p.s). At a broader level, the content could refer to a list of school subjects offered where the purposes are the goals for that level of education. In more specific terms, the content could refer to a list of topics, themes, concepts or works to be covered with specific objectives as the purposes. Kelly (1999) avoids the multiple interpretations inherent in Walker's definition by distinguishing between different types of

2 curriculum amongst which are total, hidden, planned and received curriculum. Total curriculum refers to the total programme for an educational institution while the hidden curriculum consist of the things that pupils learn at school because of the way in which the work of the school is planned and organised but which are themselves not overtly planned by the teacher. While the total curriculum is too broad for use in looking at issues of curriculum continuity, Kelly's distinction of planned and received curriculum sheds some light on how the hidden curriculum could be employed as an integral part of any analysis of the curriculum. He defines the planned curriculum, which is also called the intended curriculum, as what is laid down in syllabuses as content, aims and objectives (Kelly, 1999). The received curriculum, which is also known as the actual curriculum, is 'the reality of the pupils' eperience'. Kelly argues that what is planned may not always be what is received by the students so that often there is a mismatch between the two. Consequently, an analysis of the curriculum should not only be confined to what is planned, but also what the students receive. This received curriculum could give some indications of the hidden curriculum. It is important to note that the received curriculum would depend in part, on the learning eperiences and pedagogic strategies which teachers use in order to enact the intended curriculum. The implication of these definitions is that an eploration of issues of curriculum should take into consideration both the written syllabuses and what goes on in and outside the classroom. Teachers' and pupils' views about what goes on in the teaching and learning of specific subjects could help give an indication of the hidden curriculum. For purposes of this study therefore, the curriculum was taken to include course outlines, school syllabi and national eamination papers as the 'intended' curriculum, the teaching and learning strategies and perceptions of what is actually learnt by the pupils, as the 'received' curriculum. Curriculum continuity thus entails continuity of content, aims and objectives and teaching strategies, with both the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum, between any two levels of an education system. A framework for analysing the science curriculum Chiapetta et al. (1991) devised a framework that could be used in any analysis of the science curriculum. The framework was devised from a review of literature on scientific literacy and consists of four categories: the knowledge of science, the investigative nature of science, science as a way of thinking and the interaction of science, technology and society. The knowledge of science deals with the facts, concepts, principles, laws, hypotheses and theories of science necessary for a scientifically literate individual. The investigative nature of science on the other hand deals with the methods and processes of science such as observation, eperimenting, classifying, recording and analysing data, and making conclusions. Science as a way of thinking deals with the thinking, reasoning and reflection in the construction of scientific knowledge and the work of scientists while the interaction of science, technology and society deals with the impact of science on society and the interaction between science, technology and society. The framework devised by Chiapetta et al. (1991) was employed to evaluate middle school and high school physical science, chemistry and biology tetbooks. More recently, Boujaoude (2002) deployed it for the analysis of the balance of the categories in the Lebanese science curriculum. In order to do this, Boujaoude made three adaptations to the framework with the aim of making it aligned to more recent conceptions of scientific literacy and the philosophy of science. This led to an epansion of the category of the interaction of science, technology and society to include 'personal use of science to make everyday decisions, solve everyday problems and improve one's life and the impact of ethical and moral concerns on these activities' (p.145). In addition, it led to a.change in the name of the third category from science as a way of thinking to science as a way of knowing since, as Boujaoude argued, modern conceptions of the

3 philosophy of science suggest that 'science as a way of knowing IS inclusive of a way of thinking'. For the purposes of this study, two further adaptations were made in order to align the framework to recent conceptions of the investigative nature of science. From the work of researchers such as Gott and Duggan (1995) it is clear that eperimental design is part of scientific investigations. As such, there is need to include such eperimental design skills as identifying questions for an investigation, identifying dependent and independent variables and overall design of the investigation. Furthermore, general laboratory skills such as safety, conduct in the laboratory, also need to be included in this category. The framework presented in Table 1 reflects the definitions of scientific literacy as advanced by the two researchers and the modifications discussed. This framework was employed to eplore curriculum continuity issues at the school to university transition. Curriculum continuity in science and technology in Malawi Background to the study The motivation to carry out the research reported in this paper arose from the debates that were triggered by a secondary school curriculum review in In this review, which was the first of its kind for nearly three decades, a new core science subject was introduced. The subject is called integrated science for junior secondary and science and technology for senior secondary. The knowledge of science - The facts, concepts, principles, laws, hypotheses, theories and models of science. The investigative nature of science Science as a way of knowing - IdentifYing variables, formulating hypotheses, control of variables - Methods and processes of science: observation, measuring, classifying, inferring, recording and analysing data, communicating using a variety ofmeans- speaking, graphs, tables, charts, making calculations. - Emphasis on hands-on and minds-on science. - Conduct in the laboratory and safety. - The thinking, reasoning and reflection in the construction of scientific knowledge and the work of scientists. - Empirical nature of science. - Objectivity in science. - Use of assumptions in science. - Inductive and deductive reasoning. - Cause and effect relationships. - Relationship between evidence and proof - Role of self-eamination in science. - How scientists eperiment. - How scientific theories are arrived at and replaced. - Role of creativity and imaginativeness of scientists. The interaction of science, technology and society - Impact of science on society - Inter-relationships between science, society and technology. - Science-related social issues. - Personal use of science to make everyday decisions, solve everyday problems and improve one's life. - Science-related moral and ethical issues.

4 As the name suggests, this subject integrates the three science subjects of biology, chemistry and physics. For ease and clarity of presentation in this paper, the new subject will be referred to as integrated science at both levels. The introduction of integrated science as a core subject meant that the traditional separate sciences, which have been used for selection of students for university S&T programmes in the past, became electives throughout secondary schooling. Besides, many secondary schools stopped teaching the separate sciences in the first cycle of implementation of the new curriculum ( ). The debate amongst university academics and other educators therefore centred upon whether or not the integrated science curriculum could prepare students adequately for the whole range of university S&T programmes. Research questions Given the concerns with the new curriculum, a question of interest in this research was whether or not the integrated science curriculum could prepare students adequately for the whole range of S&T programmes offered by the University of Malawi. The approach to the work was based on two central research strands and purposes. The first was concerned with the eploration of the range of Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) required of incoming students by the university S&T programmes, whilst the second was concerned with an eploration of the nature of the KSA covered by the integrated science curriculum. A match or mismatch between these two strands of KSA was used to determine the nature of continuity (or discontinuity) of the curriculum between the two levels. In particular, three principle questions guided the research discussed in this paper: (i) What KSA are required of students by the university S&T programmes? (ii) What KSA are covered by the school integrated science curriculum? (ii) How do the required KSA compare with those covered by the school integrated science curriculum? Methodology In accordance with the purposes of the research, a qualitative approach to the study was employed. The analytical framework that guided both the design of the research and the subsequent analysis of the data was the dual concept of the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum. The former is simply the stated intentions of the course as specified eplicitly in the course outlines, syllabi and national specimen eamination papers. The latter is a combination of how the teachers and lecturers translate such intentions into a set of teaching and learning activities, and how the pupils interpret these activities. It was of interest to find out whether there are tensions between the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum. Furthermore, the scientific literacy framework described earlier guided the design and analysis of data in the study. Data were collected through documentation, interviews and classroom observations. A semi-structured interview schedule that eplored the KSA covered by the integrated science curriculum and those required of students by the first year university S&T courses was used during the interviews. Considering that some of the scientific KSA are universal, a list of these was developed by using various O-level tetbooks and incorporated in the interview schedule. The list was the same for all respondents, the only difference occurred in the ranking criteria. The interview technique however started with open-ended questions and only moved to the list as a way of getting detail.s of what the respondents reported. At school level, the research involved five secondary schools covering the three sectors of secondary education in Malawi - conventional, community day and private secondary sectors. Form 4 integrated science teachers and pupils were involved in the study. One class out of the three Form 4 classes was randomly selected, the pupils randomly assigned to si groups and each group interviewed separately in focus group discussions. The overall data collection strategy at

5 this level therefore involved a document analysis of both the junior and the senior 'intended' integrated science curriculum, twelve individual teacher interviews, thirty pupil focus group discussions and si classroom observations. At university level, the approach was to include all S&T programmes offered by the University of Malawi, which is the major university in the country: agriculture, applied sciences, engineering, medicine, nursing and science. From each of these programmes, first year lecturers and students were involved. The students interviewed were those who voluntarily accepted to take part in the study after it was presented to them. The data collection strategy at this level therefore involved an analysis of the documentation for the various course outlines and twenty-seven and twenty-nine individual interviews for lecturers and students respectively. Data analysis The data obtained took three forms: completed lists of KSA, the interview transcripts and the course outlines, syllabi and eamination papers. The interview data contained other KSA that were not originally included in the lists used during the interviews. Data from the completed KSA lists were analysed by generating frequency graphs. These graphs were used to categorise the KSA into four groups. For university data, these were essential, important, unessential and debatable requirements. The full description of these categories and how they were arrived at are as follows: Essential requirements: The KSA that must be known by the students before they register for the first year courses. These are the KSA that were ranked A by the majority of both lecturers and students. Important requirements: The KSA that are required of the students but are developed further in the course of the first year. They included the KSA that were ranked B by the majority of both groups of respondents as well as those where an A/B ranking tie appeared on one group of respondents or those ranked A by one group of respondents and B by the other. Unessential requirements: The KSA that are not required and were ranked C or D by the majority of both groups of respondents. Debatable requirements: These are the KSA where wide variations in the ranking appeared so that they were either ranked A or B by one group of respondents and C or D by the other. For school data, the categories were: familiar to the majority, familiar to some, unfamiliar to the majority and debatable, as follows: Familiar to the majority: The KSA ranked A by both teachers and pupils. Familiar to some: The KSA ranked B by the majority of teachers and pupils as well as those that were ranked A by one group of respondents and B by the other. Unfamiliar to the majority: The KSA ranked C and D by both groups of respondents as well as those that were ranked C by one group of respondents and D by the other. Debatable: The KSA ranked either A or B by one group of respondents and C or D by the other. The interview data were transcribed and analysed through both inductive and deductive coding. Repeated reading of the raw data gave rise to three additional categories: general knowledge and skills, mathematical knowledge and skills, and English language and grammar. Matches and/or mismatches in the KSA were worked out by comparing the 'essential' and 'important' requirements for university S&T programmes with the familiarity to pupils after studying the integrated science curriculum. The same was carried out with aspects of the debatable requirements that showed a direct relationship with the 'intended' first year course

6 outlines. For KSA where mismatches eisted, (where the KSA were unfamiliar to the majority or debatable) the requirements were matched with the 'intended' integrated science curriculum. The same was done with the KSA that emerged from the interviews as requirements. Discussion of findings The findings of the research showed that tensions do eist between the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum with respect to the KSA either required for university S&T courses or covered by the integrated science curriculum. In both cases, this was more pronounced on the investigative nature of science. For eample, although investigative skills were included in the 'intended' integrated science curriculum, these were not taught to pupils in the 'received' curriculum. The majority of both teachers and pupils argued that lecture is the main teaching strategy and hardly any practical work takes place in the teaching of integrated science. Similarly, although the university lecturers identified eperimental design skills as requirements for their courses, these were not part of the practice of practical work in the first year. The majority of the lecturers and first year students argued that all eperiments are already designed so that the students simply have to collect data. This was evidenced by the eistence of pre-planned laboratory manuals containing all eperiments for the whole first year. The findings on the matches andlor mismatches in the KSA are discussed according to the respective categories: The knowledge of science Table 2 shows the matches and lor mismatches between the required KSA and the familiarity to pupils after studying the integrated science curriculum for biology. The table shows that pupils were familiar with over 73 percent of the required concepts. The familiarity with the remaining concepts was debatable in that there was no agreement between teachers and pupils. 10 ogy reqmremen s an elr ami Ian o PUpl S Requirements Familiarity to pupils Essential requirements Characteristics ofliving things ++++ Classification of living things ++++ Vertebrates and invertebrates - Plant cell structure and functions ++++ Diffusion and osmosis ++ Foods and food tests ++++ Important requirements Animal cell structure and functions ++ Body organs Body systems - - Photosynthesis ++++ Seual and aseual reproduction - Ecosystems ++++ Nitrogen cycle ++++ Oygen cycle ++++ Debatable requirements Micro-organisms ++++ Key: ++++ Familiar to majority ++ Familiar to some Unfamiliar to majority Debatable

7 The debatable concepts and other requirements that emerged from the interviews were checked against the 'intended' integrated science curriculum. The results show that most of these concepts are not adequately covered by the curriculum (see Table 3). While the junior curriculum covers about 50 percent, the senior curriculum only covers 10 percent. As such, there is discontinuity in the coverage of the concepts between the junior and the senior curriculum and consequently between the senior curriculum and the first year of university. Concept Junior Secondary Senior Secondary Debatable requirements Vertebrates and invertebrates -J Body organs Eye -J Ear -J Heart Body systems Digestive -J Reproduction -plants -J -animals Respiratory Circulatory Ecretory Nervous Skeletal Other requirements Plant organs and functions -J Adaptation of plants -J -J Seed germination Insects -J Common diseases -J -J Blood " Covered It should be mentioned that although almost all the concepts classified as familiar to the majority in Table 2 are indeed covered by the 'intended' integrated science curriculum, that of micro-organisms is not. This is an eample of a mismatch between the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum whereby teachers appear to cover more than the intentions of the curriculum. Table I (appendi 1) shows the matches and mismatches in the KSA for the chemistry course. From this Table, only 50 percent of the requirements are familiar to the pupils after studying the integrated science curriculum. Luckily, this includes all the essential requirements. An analysis of the 'intended' curriculum for the unfamiliar concepts and other requirements that emerged from the interviews shows that both the junior and the senior curriculum do not cover

8 them and the gap is more pronounced on the concepts of the mole, organic chemistry, electrolysis and reaction kinetics which are completely missing in these curricula. Table II in the same appendi shows that just over 43 percent of the requirements for the first year physics course are familiar to the pupils. This translates to 46 and 37 percent respectively for the essential and important requirements. Almost all the concepts that were perceived to be unfamiliar to the majority of the pupils are not covered by the 'intended' curriculum. These include sub-concepts under mechanics and optics. Most of the concepts that emerged from the interviews are also not adequately covered in these curricula. This is particularly true for the concepts of force and electricity and magnetism. The topic of vibrations and waves is not covered in both curricula despite the inclusion of higher-level concepts of diffraction and interference, which apply the principles of vibrations and waves, in the senior curriculum. The general impression from the analysis is that, in so far as the knowledge of science is concerned, both the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum cover most of the required concepts for the first year biology course. However, a few topics are not covered by the senior curriculum. The coverage of the required concepts for the chemistry course is problematic in both curricula and the gap is more pronounced for the physics course. The investigative nature of science The matches and mismatches on the investigative nature of science are shown in Tables 4 Table 4: Required investigative skills and their familiarity to pupils Required skills Familiarity to pupils Essential requirements Identifying dependent and independent variables ++ Using basic measuring instruments - Taking accurate readings - Recording measurements ++++ Making accurate observations - Transforming data into different forms: graphs, tables ++++ Making simple calculations ++ Writing laboratory reports Drawing conclusions Conduct in the laboratory - Important requirements Formulating hypothesis Establishing links between variables Taking repeated measurements Identifying relationships/patterns in data Magnification Safety Debatable requirements Identifying questions for an investigation Control of variables/fair test Instrument errors ++++ Familiar to majority ++ Familiar to some Debatable Unfamiliar to majority

9 From Table 4, about 53 percent of the required scientific skills and techniques are familiar to the pupils while 37 percent are debatable and 10 percent are unfamiliar. Surprisingly, Table 5 shows that the 'intended' junior curriculum covers 78 percent of the debatable and unfamiliar skills while the senior curriculum covers 56 percent. This is an indication of dissonance between the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum. It would appear from the interview responses that hardly any practical work is carried out with the pupils in the schools so that most of the skills included in the 'intended' curriculum are not translated into teaching and learning eperiences for pupils. This could eplain why almost all the skills dealing with data collection such using basic measuring instruments and taking accurate readings from measuring instrument, ended up as debatable skills showing that while some respondents took into consideration the 'received' curriculum, others considered the 'intended' curriculum when coming up with their responses. Table 5 however also shows that there are some skills and techniques that are not covered by the 'intended' curriculum. Although some of these may not easily be epressed in terms of curriculum content, it is clear that some are not covered at all. The latter includes doing titrations since this is carried out as part of the mole concept, which is not covered by both curricula. Skill or technique Junior curriculum Senior curriculum Debatable/ Unfamiliar to majority Using basic measuring instruments -J Taking accurate readings -J Making accurate observations -J -J Taking repeated measurements -J -J Writing laboratory reports -J -J Conduct in the laboratory Drawing conclusions Magnification -J -J Instrument errors -J -J Other skills and techniques Identifying measuring instruments -J -J Organisation of work space Following instructions -J Laboratory techniques - preparing solutions - doing titrations - handling and dissecting animals - weighing substances -J - preparing specimens -J - mounting specimens -J Ke : -J Covered Science as a way of knowing This is the least covered category of scientific literacy in both the 'intended' and the 'received' curriculum despite betng one of the requirements for university S&T programmes. For eample, Table 6 shows that pupils are familiar with only 45 percent of the ideas-about-science and scientists required of them. The unfamiliar ideas were however not checked with the 'intended' integrated science curriculum since most of these are not eplicitly stated as curriculum content. However, a content analysis of the specific objectives shows that this theme of scientific literacy constitute only 0.5 and 3 percent of the specific objectives in the junior and senior curriculum respectively, a fmding that is not unique to the integrated science curriculum but true of separate sciences both in Malawi (MoEST, 2003) and other countries (Boujaoude, 2002).

10 The interaction of science, technology and society The findings of the study show that the interaction of science, technology and society category does not form part of the requirements for university S&T programmes. However, some lecturers argued that this category of scientific literacy is useful for motivation purposes. For instance, one lecturer argued thus,... we should appreciate the outcomes of science and they should have in the curriculum, at least some applications... students that we have now are not really able to see the relationship between what we tell them in class, the concepts we develop, the laws that we learn about, with the things that we see and we appreciate as being the results of science and the results of physics in particular so that they should get motivated. It is interesting to note however, that this category of scientific literacy is adequately covered in both the 'intended' and the 'received' integrated science curriculum. Scientific reasoning Scientific knowledge relies on empirical evidence ++ A scientific theory is an eplanation about how things happen ++++ Scientific discoveries are for understanding nature, inventions for ++++ solving problems Science and its methods cannot give answers to all questions ++ Scientific theories are replaced by new ones when more evidence becomes available. Scientists carry out eperiments in order to test ideas. Scientists know what they epect to happen before they do an eperiment Scientists work in collaboration and one scientists' work is usually followed up by other scientists. Scientists are creative and imaginative Scientific knowledge is tentative ++++ Key: ++++ Familiar to majority ++ Familiar to some Unfamiliar to majority General knowledge and skills Although the design of the study was influenced by the four scientific literacy categories, the findings showed that the requirements for university S&T programmes also fall in other categories: general knowledge and skills, mathematical knowledge and skills and English language and grammar. While the last two categories relate to the specific subjects of Mathematics and English in the 'total' curriculum of the school in Malawi, coverage of some of the general knowledge and skills by the 'intended' integrated science curriculum was eplored. In terms of definition, general knowledge and skills refer to the knowledge and skills that are not subject-specific but are used in the learning of any subject. The requirements for university S&T programmes in this respect were in three broad areas: cognitive skills, academic skills and

11 personal attributes of the student. The cognitive skills were variably described as critical thinking, analytical skills and reasoning skills. The academic skills on the other hand included note taking, independent learning, use of tetbooks, study skills and the personal attributes included hardworking, perseverance and motivation. The 'intended' integrated science curriculum appears to offer some opportunities for development of most of these skills through the general problem-solving approach suggested for teaching the course. The inclusion of project work in the suggested teaching and learning activities (MoEST, 2000) constitutes another opportunity. Despite this, the teaching and learning strategies in the 'received' curriculum leave a lot to be desired. As argued earlier, the lessons are dominated by lectures in which copying notes is a common occurrence and for which no practical or project work is involved. This approach to lessons is unlikely to lead to the acquisition of the wider cognitive skills required by the university S&T programmes. Zoller (1993) argued from empirical evidence that lectures largely lead to rote learning and passive application of learned algorithms rather than the higher order cognitive skills of critical thinking and analytical skills. Besides, the giving of notes may not enable pupils acquire the note-taking and independent learning skills that are pre-requisite for university S&T programmes. The question of whether or not the pupils would acquire the required personal attributes after studying the integrated science curriculum was not eplicitly raised with the pupils and teachers since these were not anticipated at the design stage of the study. However, the fact that there are narrow transition rates between primary and secondary and more so between secondary and university education in Malawi (GoM/PIF, 2001) mean that pupils have to work etra hard in order to 'make it' up the education ladder. Similarly, it was difficult to judge whether integrated science motivates the students towards education in general and S&T in particular. However, the lecturers interviewed did suggest that having a science curriculum that includes the applications of science in everyday life could lead to pupil motivation towards the subject. This clearly requires further research. Conclusion The findings show that the integrated science curriculum is problematic as a subject for preparing pupils for university S&T programmes. The problematic nature of this curriculum lies largely on the three categories of the knowledge of science, science as a way of knowing and general knowledge and skills. This is inherent in both the design of the 'intended' curriculum and as a consequence of the 'received' curriculum. Although science as a way of knowing seems problematic even in separate sciences, there is an indication that integrating separate science leads to a loss of some content. This is more so when the applications of science to everyday life are also included. Thus, integrated science curricula may not realistically prepare students adequately for further study in science. The [mdings also support the need to enforce the use of practical work in teaching school science in Malawi through more thorough teacher monitoring and supervision as well as provision of adequate teaching and learning resources. This could also help in the achievement of the required general knowledge and skills such as higher-order cognitive and academic skills. However, the university is urged to take the responsibility of bringing up the first year students to some of the required academic skills such as independent learning, use of tetbooks and notetaking, since these are not part of secondary school teaching in Malawi and other countries as well (Pargetter et ai., 1998). The university S&T courses in Malawi are too academic, leaving out the important component of the interaction of science, technology and society. Considering the poverty reduction objective for teaching and learning science in Malawi (GoM/PIF, 2001), there is a need for both school and university curricula to include the relationship between science, technology

12 and society. As such, the university curricula need to reflect this change if the poverty reduction objective for teaching science is to be achieved. References Boujaoude, S. (2002) Balance of scientific literacy themes in science curricula: the case of Labanon. International Journal of Science Education, 24,2, Chiapetta, E.L., Sethn a, G.H. & Fillman, D.A (1991) A quantitative analysis of high school chemistry tetbooks for scientific literacy themes and epository learning aids. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 28, Ellis, K.A. & Mackey, A.J. (1988) The school curriculum. London: Allyn and Bacon. Gott, R. & Duggan, S. (1995) Investigative Press. work in the science curriculum. London: Open University GoM!PIF (2001) Policy and Investment Framework. Lilongwe: Ministry of Education Hargreaves, A., Earl, L.M. & Ryan, J. (1996) Schoolingfor change: reinventing education for early adolescents. London: The Falmer Press. Kelly, A.V. (1999) The curriculum: theory and practice. London: Paul Chapman publishing Ltd. Lowe, H. & Cook, A. (2003) Mind the gap: are students prepared for higher education? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 27, 1, MoEST (2000) The Science and Technology syllabus for senior secondary school. Dornasi: Malawi Institute of Education. MoEST (2003) Progress report for the establishment of SMA SSE Inset Malawi Pilot Programme. Dornasi: Ministry of Education. Pargetter, R., McInnis, C., James, R., Evans, M., Peel, M. & Dodson, 1. (1998) Transitionfrom secondary to tertiary: a performance study. Dowloaded on 14/03/2002. Tinto, V. (1983) Leaving College: Rethinking University of Chicago Press. the causes and cures of students attrition. Chicago: Walker, D.F. (2003) Fundamentals of curriculum: passion and professionalism. New York: Lawrence Erbaum Associates. Zoller, U. (1993) Lecture and learning: Are they compatible? Maybe for LOCS; unlikely for HOCS. Journal of Chemical Education, 70, Table I: Chemistr re uirements and their familiarit Required concepts Essential requirements Atomic structure Elements and compounds Balancin chemical e uations Important requirements Relative atomic number and mass Empirical formula Percentage composition of a compound Concentration Volumetric analysis Eothermic and endothermic reactions ils Familiarity to pupils

13 Ionic and covalent bonding ++++ Lewis structures Chemical equilibrium ++ Acid-base reactions ++++ Conjugate acid- base pairs Organic chemistry (Hydrocarbons) Hydrogen bonding in water ++++ Hydrogen bonding in alcohols Combustion ++ Debatable requirements Periodicity of physical and chemical properties ++ Mole calculations ++++" ++: Familiar to majority Familiar to some Unfamiliar to majority Debatable Required concepts Familiarity to pupils Essential requirements Acceleration Velocity Distance-time graphs Newton's laws of motion Conservation of energy ++++ Heat capacity ++ Specific heat capacity Heat transfer ++++ Insulation ++++ Law of reflection ++ Image formation Setting up a complete circuit ++++ Series and parallel circuits ++++ Potential difference Ohms law Important requirements Types of forces ++++ Magnetic forces ++ Hooke's law Dispersion of light Calculations: image distance, height, focal length Drawing ray diagrams Reflection and refraction Converging and diverging lenses Familiar to majority Famijiarto some Unfamiliar to majority