I'm constantly reviewing our syllabus. It's an interesting exercise, but I came to the conclusion that a lot of stuff on the syllabus is there for the sake of gradings, otherwise we wouldn't normally practice them.
You know the conversation... "Yike,s it's nearly grading time we'd better do XYZ"
XYZ being a bit pointless in the bigger picture of things.
If there's some logic in it all, and everything's integrated that's fine, but if all you have is a random collection of techniques and combinations you end up getting stuck in "syllabus karate", as I've mentioned on this blog a few times in the past.
Shouldn't a grading syllabus be a reflection of what you do, rather than doing things for the sake of the syllabus? Not only that, but a syllabus should only be a rough guide and a minimal set of requirements. After all, with unlimited applications and endless variety of movement in a "live" situation, what bits to you keep and what bits do you throw?
You need a handful of basics to support your actions, then you need sufficient technical content to provide some skill and application, and you need enough room to put it all together... 'in the mix', so to speak. The syllabus should be a "map" of training, showing the landscape, not specific directions to the finest detail of every street or building on the map.
From our handful of basics we can derive a lifetime of study. Students progress on their own merits, their improvement and confidence, their understanding of the art - not by remembering more complex and pointless technical requirements.
All of the essential skills should be learned as soon as possible early on in your martial arts. Therefore lists of things for seniors to grade against should be less than the beginner grades. Seniors should be able to demonstrate their competence in ways beyond memorising more "moves".
If you notice in most systems the grading requirements for senior Dan grades are usually limited to kata choices, which is the right thing to do. Well, that and fight!
Also I don't agree that black belt grades include the requirements to teach or referee. Not everybody wants to teach or get involved in sport, and black belt is no indication of a good teacher. Not everyone wants to be a martial arts politician, so why should attending meetings and suchlike contribute to a grade? A grade should be a reflection of skill and experience, not a position in a hierarchical organisation (hence I don't like the term "rank"). IMHO grades after shodan could potentially become irrelevant! I know many non-traditionalists will say grades are irrelevant anyway, but they do provide a suitable framework for structured learning. It's just that it is easy to abuse the whole concept of gradings, either as a money-making opportunity or as an excuse for egos to play power games.
Perhaps having a separate instructors' development programme would be the way to go for those that want to teach - in the UK that would involve perhaps using the NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) route, or some other formal/recognised teaching/coaching qualifications.