At first glance, it is seen that the education system in Indonesia reveals that the development of curriculum, syllabus and textbooks that is guided by the patterns and requirements of the examination system, rather than by the needs of the education and the socio-economic and cultural contexts of learners.
In the past few years, there has been an encouraging change in the development of the curriculum, the concept of the new curriculum helps teachers relate the learning process to the real world situations and encourage students to make connections between the knowledge possessed by the application in daily life.
The syllabuses are also designed to encourage the students to learn the language in a meaningful way. Widdowson (1987) defines syllabus as the details of a teaching program that will be apply in the teaching process. This definition is almost similar to Nunan’s first definition of the syllabus. He defines the syllabus as “the specification of the content of a course and the order in which content will be taught” (in Graves, 2008, p. 159).
However, in the ESL syllabus, Nunan suggests more specific definition to ESL syllabus as “a specific way to conceptualize what language is and how language is learned so that materials can be selected and prepared for the classroom”. From the definitions, it can be concluded that the syllabus is the planning of a learning program of what to be achieved through teaching process.
Regarding the development of the curriculum in Indonesia, the discussion of the syllabus in this report will focus on the syllabus in the communicative curriculum. Breen and Candlin (2001) state that communicative curriculum in ESL helps the students to learn how to use the language in the socio-cultural group not only learn the form of the language. Therefore, Freeman and Freedman (1998) suggest that the activity in the class room should represent the real life situation. Therefore, the syllabus design should engage the communicative curriculum.