Research Abstract

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Curriculumdevelopment is influenced by various factors in the environment inwhich learners live. The content of school subjects is a reflectionof the social, political and technological characteristics of aspecific society. This paper presents an abstract depicting a casestudy on social and cultural factors influencing curriculum inAustria. The research carried out by Jippes et al. (2013) outlinesthat different schools in the world adopt varied forms of educationstructures depending on the social and political orientation.Espousing a blueprint from another setting puts the system on theverge of collapsing. Also, as societies change to become morecomplex, the stakeholders integrate the new practices into theeducation system. Therefore, the curriculum in schools is a primarypointer of the level of sophistication of a given community.


Theauthors singled out medical schools and suggested that the nationalculture is a major determinant of curriculum reforms. The Hofstede`scultural dimension that inclines towards uncertainty avoidance hasfar reaching effects on the implementation of the integrated programof study

ThePurpose of the Study

Theresearch sought to determine how learning institutions overcome thehindrance of “Uncertainty of avoidance.” The rationale for thisinquiry is that the success of adopting curriculum changes is notuniformly achieved in the different education facilities.


Theresearchers settled for Austria for its current integration of socialfactors in the curriculum development. Four medical schools wereselected to provide a fine opportunity to explore the mechanisms ofthe underlying change of curricular where the national culture doesnot offer a conducive environment for the projected alterations. Keychange agents in the institutions provided valuable information sincethey are actively involved in the program design and structure. Toenhance the accuracy and validity of the information, the researcherssettled for the snowball sampling technique and recruited 27respondents. The interviews were videotaped and transcribed verbatim.


Thestudy found out that strict national laws and loss of autonomy ofschools inhibits innovation and integration of culture. They alsopromote a blame game whereby none of the involved stakeholders acceptliability for failing to implement the most appropriate curriculum. In addition, increasing the schools’ independence triggers thereforms from the institutional level. The authors also found out thata changing social environment is not sufficient to stimulate changein the curriculum. There is need for a strong supportive and dynamicleadership in the key positions that influence the education sector.It can also be ineffective to integrate changes in the content taughtin schools without a relevant policy. The introduction oflegislations triggers a top down approach that compels resistantinstitutions to join in the dynamic wave.


Mostinstitutions are reluctant to integrate social aspects in theeducations system due to uncertainty avoidance. However, since theeducation sector cannot alienate itself from the social alterationsin the community, it becomes necessary to devise dynamic structuresto adopt changes. Drawing from the case of increased disengagementof medical schools in Austria, the study concludes that spinelessinstitutions cannot design a progressive curriculum path. There isalso a problem with the definition of the correct threshold forcausality. It becomes challenging to determine whether certainaspects in the social arena are enough to stimulate change in thecurriculum. Nonetheless, the authors indicate that social factorshave no place in causal explanations since they can be contextuallyand intelligibly described.

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