The Importance of Situational Analysis and needs assessment in the initial stages of curriculum development

Mkandawire Benson Sitwe (2010). The Importance of Situational Analysis and needs assessment in the initial stages of curriculum development. An article for education.
Situational analysis is the systematic process of analyzing the situation before the curriculum is developed effectively. However, Hilda Taba (1962) describes situational Analysis as a diagnosis of needs. In this simpler form, we can define situational Analysis as the process of examining factors that exist in the environment or society where the curriculum is going to be implemented.
Situational analysis factors include knowledge about the environment in terms of mountains, rivers, flora and fauna including places where the programme or curriculum is going to be implemented, the social or power structure of that society, the traditions, norms, needs and aspirations of the community and the language of instruction.
Bishop (1985) argued that the situational Analysis must incorporate members of the general public and not only ‘experts’. These members should be invited to play their past in situational Analysis. This si because Education itself is not a discipline like English and History but an area involving a wide variety of society with different backgrounds. Hence, Parents Teachers Association (P.T.A) and religious Organisations would feel to say something pertaining to the lives and future of their children. This simply means that there is a way parents and society at large would want the curriculum to shape their attitudes of their children.
Simpson Yinger (1958) argued that situational Analysis involve careful observation and an acute understanding of the variables influencing a given situation. The particular role of a researcher in situational Analysis is to contribute to our knowledge by isolating one by one each of the many variables that are involved in every situation and then studying the effects of their interaction. The scientists in this regard measures the influence of each factor alone and later how these variables interact with each other. In short, every stakeholder must be anlysed in details. To ensure effective results curriculum developers need to undertake SWOT analysis of the stakeholders involved.




In situation analysis, you need to look at the Resources people posses. Rich people will contribute positively towards the education of a learner. Poor people are unable to contribute positively towards the development of the curriculum.
Kaufman (1982:75) defined Needs Assessment as “a formal analysis that documents gaps between current results and the desired results.” He further defined a need as a gap between what is and what should be.
Need assessment involves arranging gaps (needs) in priority of order, selection of the needs to be resolved. Once analyzed, the information is then used to set appropriate arms , goals and objectives in curriculum Development.
The importance of situational analysis and needs assessments is that they provide us with up to date information which can be used to solve the problems, set providers, identify groups which require special need intervention and can create a basis or platform for discussion in as far as curriculum development is concerned.
Another importance of situational analysis and needs assessments is that Policy makers (Government officials) and decision makers (curriculum specialists) can make strong arguments in as far as allocation of resources is concerned.
A needs assessment can be a powerful tool used to develop strategies to address the curriculum needs.
Will provide the met and unmet needs within the targeted groups e.g. (i) met needs may be availability of teachers and pupils, supplementary readers (ii) unmet may be the distance between the school and the learners home.
The importance of situational analysis and needs assessments is that they will help in the formulation of curriculum intent, content, selection of learning and teaching activities.
It help educationalists meet the needs and expectations of the society. Ordinarily, the content of subjects in curriculum intent is too formal and academic to meet the needs of the majority of the children who do not proceed on to higher studies especially if it was developed without situational analysis. What pupils do in schools neither satisfies the developing needs of the child nor prepares the child adequately for the world/environment he/she lives in (no wonder we have more street kids in Zambia). Practical and aesthetic subjects such as wood work and music are therefore not given enough time and attention. This is because curriculum is mainly designed to transmit factual knowledge rather than to provide learning experiences.
The importance of situational analysis and needs assessments is that they guide on what need to be done by attacking a real problem in the community which are issue based rather than assumptions.
Bishop, G. (1985). Curriculum Development; A Text book for students. Hong Kong: Macmillan Education Ltd.
Kaufman, R., and English, F.W. (1979). Needs assessment: Concept and Application. . Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Educational Technology publications.
Yinger. Simpson 91950) Racial and Culture Minorities; An Analysis of prejudice and Discrimination. New York: Harper & Row publishers.
(H.T. 1521 Sim) – Classmark.


About Sitwe

Sitwe Benson is a citizen of the world based in Zambia. He publishes academically oriented articles.
This entry was posted in Education, Literacy, Language and Curriculum and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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