A case challenging the roll out of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) is set for hearing on 27th April 2022 by a five judge bench.
High Court judge Anthony Mrima found the case filed by lawyer Esther Ang’awa raised weighty issues, which require more than one judge to settle.
The judge called on Chief Justice Martha Koome to appoint the five bench judge.
“I certify CBC petition as raising substantial and novel issues requiring consideration by an uneven number of judges, of not less than five, to be assigned by the Chief Justice,” he said.
Ang’awa has sued Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), the National Assembly and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i.
At the heart of the case is whether CBC was rolled out without prior preparations and consultations.
At the same time, Ms. Ang’awa argues that teachers are ill-prepared, and that implementation of the new curriculum will harm children’s future.
However, in their separate replies, the five accused, with the support of the National Parents Association (NPA) want the court to dismiss the case.
Through its lawyer Elizabeth Akinyi, NPA said Ang’awa has not undertaken to compensate those who will be affected by the orders.
However the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development CEO Prof Charles Ong’ondo warned that reversing the Competency Based Curriculum would cost the country more than sh. 200 billion.
The KICD boss says the government rolled out CBC after conducting intensive stakeholder consultations in response to the needs of the 21st century about creativity, imagination and digital literacy.
His sentiments came after Alliance National Congress (ANC) leader, Musalia Mudavadi, said his Kenya Kwanza alliance will scrap CBC once they form the next government.
Mudavadi said the programme was implemented in a rush, and without consultation with stakeholders.
“The controversial Competence-Based-Curriculum of education will be scraped once the Ruto/Mudavadi government takes power in August,” he said.
The ANC leader through his party said the CBC system is a burden to parents in the country.
“This year parents have suffered. This system is good but maybe it has been implemented hurriedly. We don’t know when a term started or when it ends. If elected, we will do away with the system,” Mudavadi said in Busia.
However the KICD boss warned against such move saying every education reform has its “teething problems” and “some discomfort,”.
Ong’ondo says its impossible to do away with CBC as this will prove more costly to the country.
“Reversing CBC is like saying we do away with the 2010 Constitution or uproot the standard gauge railway. We would lose more than Sh200 billion invested in CBC so far,” Professor Ong’ondo said.
The KICD boss says the Competency Based Curriculum is designed to solve many problems that came with the 8.4.4 curriculum.
“If we scrap CBC, it’s like saying we go back and stop thinking about the digital world; it is like saying we go back to the knowledge-based era of recalling without the ability to demonstrate what has been learned,” he said.
Though Mudavadi argues that wide consultations were not made, the Ministry of Education officials have dismissed such claims that it rushed to implement the competency-based curriculum.
KICD assistant director Subira Neema said the reforms were taken through intense research and assessment.
“What probably our audience doesn’t know is when this process started, it started way back in 2005 and a lot of processes that were informed by research happened,” Neema said.
The assistant director added that a pilot programme was conducted before the official national rollout.
“We started with a pilot in 2017 and 2018 and then we had the national rollout. From there, we have had grade-by-grade transition,” she added.
The pioneer class is in Grade 5 and will transition to Grade 6 in April. This will be the end of upper primary school.
Neema further said the current curriculum is aligned with social and political dynamics faced in the world.
“We know that these are not static, they change from time to time and therefore it is incumbent upon the Education ministry to then look at how it addresses the issues that arise,” she said.
Curriculum Reforms and Implementation PS Fatuma Chege urged parents to be supportive of CBC.
“The current reforms that are being implemented were envisioned in Vision 2030, when you want to draw a vision for your country, education becomes the core of your social pillar,” Chege said.
She faulted private school heads who impose numerous books to be bought by parents.
“The schools which were demanding more books than the ones required by the ministry were identified and asked to pull out,” she said.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha has also been heard several times telling off those who oppose the new curriculum.
The CS has been quoted saying that CBC is here to stay and those calling for it t be scrapped should wake up from slumber because the train has left the station.