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The training of teachers of basic education in Suriname is undergoing a renewal process. Rewriting the curriculum is an important part of it. There is a desire to change the current curriculum in order to create a competency-based curriculum, one that focuses on specific knowledge, skills and attitudes. There is a very large consensus on this within the educational institutes. However, the first steps in this process required effort.
Although the word "competency-based" is used a lot, its meaning is not always well understood. Competencies as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes remain theoretical.

A training brought more clarification, but no real insight. In Suriname, very few examples of competency-based training are available. Based on the idea of "learning by doing", pedagogical institutes launched the curriculum for Mathematics by means of a maths work group. Initially there was some concern that it was not being developed by curriculum experts. Therefore it took some effort to have people believe in themselves. For those involved, however, it was very liberating to do something about the problems that have long been known.

A competency-based training is not made of distinct, separate parts. Therefore the mathematics group consist of mathematics teachers and educationists. First people were testing the waters because there was never a real dialogue between these departments before. But within this work group they found each other. They now work together on a new curriculum for Mathematics. Maths and educational theory are no longer separate subjects, but overlap and complement each other. In the new curriculum not only the required subject knowledge is mentioned, but also what the future teacher is expected to do with it.

Carl Beel
Line Coordinator Educational Institutes PROGRESS, VVOB Suriname