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Post-Socialist Curricular Reform in Czechia: Multiple Actors and Their Blame Games

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts

ISBN: 978-1-83867-738-1, eISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Publication date: 20 January 2021

Abstract

The Czech case sheds light on the processes of curriculum making inthe post-socialist context. To explain the relationship between the macro and micro levels of curriculum development, Graeber's concept of interpretive labour is used. In the Czech Republic, from the very first days of the Velvet Revolution (November 1989), groups of citizens and teachers demanded profound change in school education but the new conservative-liberal government preferred piecemeal steps.An alternative route to radical school reform was proposed at the meso level by an alliance of health psychologists and progressive teachers, using the know-how of the World Health Organization. Schools that voluntarily joined the Healthy Schoolnetwork were expected to restructuretheir core processes by an approach similar to school-based curriculum development. This change model was adopted at the macro level,when the Social Democrats formed a government in 1998. The new Education Act mandated that each school had to develop its own curriculum using the new national framework. The analysis of policy documents paving the way for this reform, however, showsa sequence of unfulfilled plans and promises. Almost all independent evaluations have found that the essential goals of the reform have remained unfulfilled, as schools mostly created their curriculaby, for example, formally recycling the old national syllabi.As curriculum making occurs across different levels, the failed curricular reform resulted in a blame game among thelevels(the ministry, curricular agency, inspectorate, school leaders, teachers and others),with no actor accepting theirshare of the responsibilityand probably considering any lessons for future curriculum revisions.

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Citation

Dvořák, D. (2021), "Post-Socialist Curricular Reform in Czechia: Multiple Actors and Their Blame Games", Priestley, M., Alvunger, D., Philippou, S. and Soini, T. (Ed.) Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 99-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-735-020211006

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Mark Priestley, Daniel Alvunger, Stavroula Philippou and Tiina Soini