CBC solves the problem of Kenya having longest primary education cycle in East Africa

CBC solves the problem of Kenya having longest primary education cycle in East Africa

Learners will complete six years under the Competency Based Curriculum(CBC) before they join secondary school in the seventh.

This is what the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (BECF), the CBC blueprint, prescribes.

This will solve the problem of Kenya having the longest primary education cycle in East Africa.

The change is based on the findings and recommendations of the Task Force on the Re-Alignment of the Education Sector to the Constitution of Kenya 2010, chaired by Prof. Douglas Odhiambo.

The Odhiambo led Task Force established that eight years of primary education cycle were not in tandem with the growth and development of children.

It also decreed that the purpose of primary education is to provide fundamental skills in reading, writing and mathematics and to establish a solid foundation for learning an objective that is in theory and practice attainable within six years of primary education.

It also found out Kenya was the only country in East Africa with the longest primary education cycle.

While Uganda and Tanzania have seven years of primary education, Burundi and Rwanda have a six year cycle.

The same applies with other systems of education. South Africa, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, England and Israel have a six year primary cycle after which learners transition to secondary schools.

The implication of this is that learners will start interacting with secondary education level curriculum in the seventh year and not the ninth as has been the case with the 8-4-4 system.

The radical change from the eighth years of primary education under the 8-4-4 system is progressively phasing out the system following the phased introduction of CBC.

The purpose of primary education is to enable pupils to acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills to develop basic cultural competence, enjoy learning and develop desire to continue learning.

This is achievable in six years as the practice in these countries have shown.

The Task Force argued that eight per cent of primary education under the 8-4-4 system does not match the growth and maturation cycle of children as provided in theories of learning.

It delays them to transit into a curriculum that is congruent with their progression in intellectual, moral and personality development.

The primary education cycle imparts the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic but also exposes students to the fundamental knowledge, that is the simplest facts or theories of subject matter that they later meet at a greater depth and breadth in secondary.

Secondary education offers a broad curriculum so as to provide learners with basic skills to survive and thrive in everyday life.

It is at the secondary level that the real meat of education is located; knowledge at an increasingly greater depth and breadth than is located at primary education level.

Educational systems in most countries have settled for six years of primary education. Six years of primary education cycle is sufficient to impart knowledge, skills and abilities of the learner and is expected to flawlessly transition to secondary education.

Senior Deputy Director in charge of Curriculum and Research Services at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD, Mrs Jacqueline Onyango says research into Needs Assessment prior to the reforms in primary schools was shocking.

She recalls pupils in class seven and eight complaining that they found the seventh and eighth year in primary boring and that it also made teachers treat them the same way they treated their counterparts in lower primary levels.

Secondary education also lays a foundation for further education and training as well as the world of work.

Prolonged secondary education enables learners to take time in making decisions that will affect their life in a meaningful and productive manner.

It is the reason why, consistent with global trends, secondary education is divided into two levels; junior secondary, where a broad based curriculum is offered for learners to identify their strength and interests, and senior secondary where learners choose subjects to lay foundation for further education and training based on their career choices, abilities and interests.

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