Curriculum Reform as a Political Statement in Developing Contexts:

A Discursive and Non-affirmative Approach




While not an entire global phenomenon, competency-based curricula have gained relevance and presence, primarily as a policy promoted by the European Commission with the European context. Kosovo – a non EU-state – shifted its curriculum from content-based to competency-based in its latest 2011 curriculum reform. This article focused on the opportunities that Kosovo students have to master learning competencies considering coverage of this specific competency within the main Kosovo’s Curriculum Framework, mathematics teacher education programmes, and grade 6 and grade 10 mathematics syllabi. Relying on document analysis methodologically and discursive institutionalism and non-affirmative theory theoretically, the analysis and findings show that learning competencies are central in the Kosovo’s new curricula, defined as one of the six key competencies to be mastered by students over their pre-university education from grade 1 to 12. Regarding teacher education programmes, findings show that BA degree for mathematics still relies in strong disciplinary knowledge, while the MA degree has been updated to reflect the latest reform. Grades 6 and Grade 10 mathematics syllabi are fully in line with KCF. Strong coordinative and communicative discourses have been at play to create the conditions for the shift from content- to competency-based curricula, while competency-based approach in itself is both an affirmative process, since curricula and learning outcomes are clearly defined from a top-down approach, and non-affirmative enough to allow for opportunities for students to obtain an open and critical outlook for themselves and democratic society – now and in the future.

Author Biography

Armend Tahirsylaj, Linnaeus University

Armend Tahirsylaj is a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Education and Teachers’ Practice, Faculty of Social Sciences, Linnaeus University, Sweden. His research interests span across a number of research domains, primarily pertaining to curriculum theory, Didaktik, education policy, teacher education, international large-scale assessments, and international comparative education.


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