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Definition of Syllabus

Definition of Syllabus

National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006: 7) states that syllabus:  refers to the content of what is to be taught and the knowledge, skills and attitudes which are to be deliberately fostered; together with stage specific objectives. Committee speaks of the ‘curriculum’, the group responds using the word ‘syllabus’, showing that it considers these terms to be identical. It also completely misses the point about the need for decentralization in curriculum development through local participation and ownership, and in which evaluation and certification constitute an important and often the most crucial component.

Suter (2001:2-5) states that syllabus can be defined as a description of the contents of a course of instruction and the order in which they are to be taught. It is defining objectives, determining content, and indicating some sort of sequence or progression' to be 'the essential minimum of what is meant by curriculum, syllabus is at the same time directed into the respective institution and outside of it. It specifies the work in a course setting and serves also as an 'expression of accountability'  towards  the  public.

Nunan (2008:7-9) states that within the literature, there is  some confusion over the terms 'syllabus' and 'curriculum'. It would, therefore, be as well to give some indication at the outset of what is meant here by syllabus, and also how syllabus design is related to curriculum development. The syllabus replaces the concept of 'method', and the syllabus is now seen as an instrument by which the teacher, with the help of the syllabus designer, can achieve  a degree of 'fit' between the needs and aims of the learner (as social being and as individual) and the activities which will take place in the classroom.

Parkes & Harris (2012:56) state that the syllabus as a contract is useful for students and instructors. For students, this approach makes clear what the rules are. By having the requirements and expectations for performance by both the student and the instructor in writing, students can decide whether or not they wish to take the course, plan appropriately for what they need to accomplish during the term of the course, and check their performance and behavior against the written contract. For instructors, this contract perspective is particularly helpful in settling formal and informal grievances. Many grievances arise out of unclear expectations or unclear communication of expectations.


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