The UNESCO Chair in Curriculum Development (UCCD) of the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) was created in 2009 at UQAM by the Director-General of UNESCO on the recommendation of the Canadian Commission of UNESCO. His work is mainly oriented towards curriculum engineering. Building on the previous work of the Chair (2009-2017), and its former incumbent Professor Philippe Jonnaert, the Chair was renewed by UNESCO in September 2017.

Prospectively, the CUDC proposes to align its research program within the international context convened by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNESCO, 2016). As a result, the work of the CUDC, led by the new co-chairholders, Professors Patrick Charland and Stéphane Cyr, is not only in line with its previous work, but also focuses on specific contexts, namely: educational systems in contexts of emergency and reconstruction.

This new orientation is justified firstly by the assessment of the Education for All program (UNESCO, 2015a), which highlighted the fact that millions of children still do not have access to education because of the nature and the scale of the crises that have shaken several educational systems in recent years. "Conflicts remain a major obstacle in regards to schooling and a large and growing proportion of unschooled children live in conflict areas" (UNESCO, 2015b). Half of the unschooled children would live or have lived in a war-affected country (UNHCR, 2015a). As a result, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development "broadly recognizes the urgency of responding to the complex educational needs of crisis-affected populations in the current global context where many countries are in conflict, while others face the serious consequences of natural disasters "(UNESCO, 2017). Moreover, "there is an unprecedented number of forced population displacements, which weighs heavily on education systems, considering that about 50% of refugee children and 75% of young refugees in the world are not in school. Marginalized groups, such as girls and people with disabilities, are the most affected "(UNESCO, 2017).

In this perspective, the research community must study and document the educational contexts in which so many children evolve. In this respect, the UNESCO Chair in Curriculum Development will be the first research facility, in the French-speaking world, to focus on the field of education in contexts of emergency, recovery, reconstruction and development. Its work will strengthen the body of evidence and support institutions and practitioners, while facilitating the production and the sharing of knowledge in this area.

Research objectives

The main objective of the CUDC is to promote an integrated system of research, training and information activities in the field of curriculum development. It facilitates collaboration between senior researchers at Canadian higher education institutions and those in other parts of the world.

Its work has three specific objectives:

  1. To develop a theoretical and methodological framework guiding the development of curricula;
  2. To develop strategies that will strengthen the capacity of ministerial staff and education practitioners in curriculum development and implementation of education system reforms;
  3. To develop, in partnership with existing networks, a community of practice allowing exchanges between experts in curricular matters from the South and the North.

For its mandate renewed until 2021, the CUDC intends to structure its research and intervention activities around 4 axes in crisis, recovery, reconstruction and development contexts:

  1. Educational inequalities of marginalized populations and disadvantaged groups
  2. Security and social cohesion in education;
  3. Development of education systems;
  4. Teacher training.

The education system across the continuum of the crisis

1. Emergency

State following a sudden and generally unplanned event that calls for immediate action to minimize its adverse consequences. In such a situation, immediate assistance to the victims of a disaster or armed conflict is necessary. The main objective is to meet basic livelihood needs and save lives.

2. Recovery

Restoring the capacity of a government and communities to rebuild and recover from the crisis, but also to prevent relapses. Recovery does not only seek to catalyze sustainable development activities, but also builds on previous humanitarian action programs to ensure that their inputs become assets for the development phase.

3. Reconstruction

A set of activities to address the medium and long-term components and structures that have been affected by a disaster or conflict.

4. Development

Conjuncture in which a country or region is in the process of global development of its economic, intellectual, social and cultural side.

5. Institutionalization

Process of setting up, formalizing, perpetuating, structuring and accepting a system of social relations within a State.