Five subjects in primary school will be merged as the government implements recommendations to reduce the workload under a new curriculum.
In primary school, home science, health education and integrated science will be merged into one subject.
Currently, the three learning areas are independent subjects and could be casualties of the proposal.
The curriculum developer also mulls merging social studies and life skills; both presently stand alone as independent subjects under the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).
This follows a proposal by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms recommending that the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) reduce learning subjects.
Lower primary subjects are to be reduced from nine to seven, upper primary from 12 to eight, junior school from 14 to nine, pre-primary to have five, and senior school to have seven.
KICD chief executive Charles Ong’ondo said the learning areas to be merged are subjects with related concepts.
“Upon a critical look we realised there are some concepts that are related and it is one of the areas we have considered for merging so that instead of having integrated science and health education as two different subjects we can only have integrated science,” Prof Ongondo said.
Just like in primary school, KICD is also considering merging home science and health education and roll over the content to integrated science.
However, the curriculum developer proposes that the ninth subject be optional; the optional subject will depend on the learner’s strength.
“What could have been compulsory earlier will now be optional,” Ong’ondo said.
Currently, learners in Junior Secondary school in January will pursue 14 subjects with 12 being compulsory.
According to the KICD curriculum design, the learners take 45 lessons a week with each lesson covering 40 minutes.
English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, integrated science, health education, pre-technical and pre-career, social studies, religious education, business studies, agriculture, life skills education, physical education/sports, foreign languages (German, French and Mandarin), will be introduced alongside indigenous language as an optional subject.
The subject to be made optional will be decided by a review team currently brainstorming at the institute.
“There is a team actually meeting right now at KICD looking at all learning areas in junior secondary. They are looking at which of these learning areas are still standing alone that we can put as optional,” he said.
He revealed that the subjects to be made optional will greatly be influenced by the amount of resources it requires.
“When looking at which subject to make optional, there is also the question of resources. We are thinking of some of these learning areas which could be so good but which the country is not very ready now to implement in all schools,” he said.
In senior secondary, Ong’ondo said the recommended changes will not affect the learning areas greatly as the CBC is yet to reach that level.
He also said the initial plan was to have seven subjects similar to recommendations by the presidential team.
Whether that will water down the strength of some subjects, Ong’ondo said they will balance out the content as they assimilate it in the existing subjects.