The national syllabus for secondary school subjects is usually designed and developed centrally at national level by a government department but implemented in the schools. In Zimbabwe the government department responsible for secondary school national syllabus is the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU). These syllabi are the official and legal documents teachers are required to use when teaching their specialised subjects. This paper looks at the relationship among the national syllabus, the schemes of work and the lesson plan.
According to Okai (2010) the term syllabus generally refers to a list of topics or a collection or outline of what pupils or students should study in a given year or specified period of teaching. It is a brief outline of lessons or lectures, or simply that aspect of the curriculum that lists topics to be taught in a given course or programme. The outline of the syllabus tends to guide the teachers on the extent of work involved in a particular class. It must be pointed out, however, that the term syllabus can only be discussed meaningfully in terms of content consideration in the curriculum. It is part of the curriculum and not the curriculum itself.
In planning the national syllabus, the planners have to consider a number of factors: Among these are:
* the philosophy of the nations;
* the age ability of the learner;
* learning materials;
* resource persons (teachers); and
* sequential arrangement (Okai, 2010).
After these considerations, the topics should proceed from known to unknown. For instance in history, begin with local history before embarking on topics that are external to the pupils’ immediate environment.
Syllabi contain the aims and assessment objectives of the subject (say history) at a particular level of education,...