This problem is particularly related to those secondary schools which prepare student for further university studies of academic nature. In U.S.A., the problem of over-loaded curriculum is not very acute, because the curriculum is very much diversified there.
In other countries the curriculum is generally over-loaded because of the belief that the intellectual subjects should be studied for a longer period in order to derive adequate benefit from the same.
Such a situation increases the load on a student’s mind and his total development is adversely affected. Due to enormous expansion of secondary education, the problem of overloaded curriculum is being experienced by most of the parents.
In is felt that for solving this problem, great care should be taken particularly in understanding the aims of education at the time of developing the curriculum and preparing the textbook for the same. Reformers of education should also emphasise the kind of expectations from efforts in various areas of education and accordingly introduce suitable methods of teaching.
Variations are there in the causes of over-loaded curriculum in different countries. In some countries the number of subjects to be taught at the secondary level has led to over-loaded curriculum. In some countries the compulsion of studying a foreign language at the secondary stage has partly resulted into an over-loaded shape of the curriculum.
In some countries due to the pressure of international relations the study of two modern foreign languages has created a difficulty in forging out a lighter curriculum. This situation is applicable in India and in some other Asian and African countries.
In some countries, the study of regional languages has been made compulsory along with the mother tongue. There are some such regional languages in which suitable books in science, mathematics are not available.
In such a situation, the students have to study English, French and other well-developed languages in which standard books in various subjects are found. In India in non-Hindi areas, the student has to study Hindi as the national language.
The problem of over-loaded curriculum is associated with social conditions also. So its satisfactory solution may be found by making some social changes as well.
However, this problem has its educational aspect also and its solution may be sought by educationists through selection of only objective areas of knowledge and give them alone a place in the curriculum.
During the Second World War such selections were made in the areas of science and mathematics in many European countries with great success. Accordingly, such selections were made in other countries also during the post-war era.
These selections have proved to be practicable for classroom purposes through introducing changes in the teaching methods with the help of audio-visual aids and other new technologies of teaching.
The experiment made in relation to forging out a core- curriculum is also another attempt for easing the problem of over-loaded curriculum. The concept of core-curriculum refers to the idea of “general science” which may include physics, chemistry, botany, zoology and other like subjects under the core-curriculum idea.
The term “social studies” has also been forged out for incorporating history, civics, geography, economics and sociology into one group, so grouping of subjects under broad areas of “general science” and “social studies” has reduced the number of subjects to be taught at the secondary level and accordingly the problem of over-loaded curriculum has been partially solved.
But for a successful solution of the issue it has also been recommended that good advanced books and teaching material aids are necessary along with modification of teacher education programme accordingly.
The problem of over-loaded curriculum is also related to the dominance of external examinations at the secondary stage of education. These examinations force teachers to teach such aspects of prescribed and other books which have no utility from educational viewpoint. So now in many countries greater emphasis is laid on internal evaluations by teachers.
Thus the importance of external examination has been minimised. In some countries both internal and external evaluation systems have been accepted by allowing 60 per cent weight age to the external and 40 per cent to the internal evaluation. These are some of devices thought of for solving the problem of over-loaded curriculum.
Now in many countries experiments are being made in the area of teaching methods. Scientific and technological advancements have led to inventions of teaching aids of various kinds. Techniques of programmed learning or instruction, teaching machines and teaching technology are being continually developed all over the world.
Audio-visual aids are being emphasised in view of their utility. In European countries, India and in many other lands Open Universities have been established. Such universities benefit those persons who have not been able to derive advantages of university education because of their earlier adverse circumstances.
Open Universities mainly depend upon correspondence courses allied with periodical contact programmes. T.V. and radio channels are also utilized in telecasting and broadcasting lessons to aspirants. Now some languages are taught through structural methods or through the medium of cultural development. The tendency to impart education through the mother tongue is gaining ground in various countries.