The debate on Competecy Based Curriculum (CBC) suitability rages on. Yesterday former Permanent Secretary (PS) for education, James Ole Kyapi, weighed in on the issue.
James Ole Kyapi gave his opinion by advising the government to invest more on teachers if it really wants to see CBC succeed.
According to Kyapi we should take lessons from the old 8:4:4 system that failed to improve on the current curriculum.
“Those who remember introduction of 8:4:4 system, CBC is taking exactly the same approach: overwhelm the system, it becomes too expensive, the whole thing reverts to old trodden path. Learn from the past, reduce load and make learning sustainable and experiential and invest in teachers,” said Ole Kyapi.
The CBC is facing numerous challenges with most teachers calling for its overhaul since its an overburdening and expensive to implement.
Today the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi will officially present a petition to court challenging the curriculum.
“I have heard your cries parents, guardians and teachers. The petition challenging CBC will be filed next week. The education system in Kenya should not be an expensive, inefficient and ineffective experiment with our children and their future as is our leadership,” said Havi last week.
However Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) has urged patience on this issue which seems to be a hot potatoe.
“Let us not throw the baby out with the bath water. CBC is being implemented in phases to pave way for a smooth transition and to fix emerging issues. Parents, we have heard you. We need to exercise restraint as the issues raised are being reviewed by the relevant entities,” said KICD.
Last week the National Assembly’s Education and Research Committee held a meeting with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development on the progress in the continued rollout of CBC.
The committee led by Chairperson Florence Mutua appreciated the manner in which KICD was discharging its mandate especially with regard to the architecture of the CBC.
However, the MPs brought to the attention of KICD the adverse reactions that have been circulated in social media portraying CBC as an expensive undertaking.
The Committee observed that the issues being raised by stakeholders risk derailing the gains made in the implementation of the CBC.
Consequently, the MPs advised KICD to retreat and address the issues raised by the committee, which included the issuance of clear guidelines to schools, teachers and parents on how assignments and homework should be handled to enhance effective curriculum delivery.
The Committee also advised KICD to scale up response mechanisms to positively influence public perceptions on CBC.
KICD has also been asked to address the issues concerning learning resources.
The institute has been asked to ensure the curriculum benefits all learners including those in rural and marginalised areas.
Further, a scale up on teacher trainings to sharpen the skills of teachers in the interpretation of the CBC was mentioned as key.
The Committee decided that Education stakeholders among them TSC, KICD and Treasury need to quickly reconvene and have a serious dialogue and find out where they are all at in the rollout, the challenges of how to overhaul the curriculum in line with CBC up to University level as well as TvET, infrastructure clarity more so on the junior secondary and training of more teachers among others.
The Committee assured KICD of their full support in the implementation but they should listen to the views of the public and guide and or advise accordingly.
The new curriculum is facing a myriad of challenges and opposition from different quarters.
Last month former Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary general Wilson Sossion termed it a fraudulent curriculum.
“CBC is a fraudulent curriculum that is being forced on the nation of Kenya and it was rolled out without a professional perspective,” he argued.
According to Sossion, the new CBC system of education is more of an extortionist scheme that has dented parents’ pockets by forcing them to buy unnecessary learning materials.
He further claimed that teachers are finding it difficult to adapt the curriculum since they have not received enough training.
Some parents have expressed concerns about the expense of the new curriculum which is to replace the 8-4-4 system.
Their anger mostly due to the many books and materials they have been asked to buy for their children who recently started the first term of the 2021 academic calendar.
However it emerged that teachers make avoidable mistakes that make learning expensive to parents and assignments complicated for children.
Parents are also on the spot for failing to be involved in their children’s learning by questioning teachers accused of going overboard.
Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) says most teachers have failed to be reactive in their interpretation of the curriculum designs.
“The curriculum designs have what we call suggested learning activities in different learning areas, which should be applied according to the school context,” says KICD Director Charles Ong’ondo.
This means teachers must understand the specific learning outcomes expected of each lesson strand and come up with creative practical ways to enable children to understand what they were taught.
Fatuma Chege, the Principal Secretary of State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms, says a teacher must be creative to know skills that need to be developed.
“Teachers must know ways they can use to teach a similar skill without overloading parents and this is something teachers are taught. The skill of cleanliness, for example, can be taught without everyone going to the market to slash and sweep,” says Prof Chege in regard to Grade 3 Knec assessment on cleaning the market.
The Ministry of Education, together with Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and other stakeholders including KICD have planned training of teachers on the new curriculum.
On Thursday 30th September, 2021 selected P1 and ECDE teacher applicants for Diploma upgrading programme will report to their respective colleges to study a nine month Diploma upgrade course.
TSC has also made public its plan to retrain high school teachers on the new curriculum.
Already details show that new classrooms may not be constructed in most public schools ahead of the major transition of CBC pioneers to junior secondary schools.
In the anticipated transition of Grade Six learners in 2023, parents and education stakeholders have questioned the level of preparedness of secondary schools to receive the students.
A Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) task force report projects that the government needs to create 1.5 million classes to cater for anticipated double intake of learners in 2023.
The team, led by Prof Fatuma Chege who is now the Principal Secretary of State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms, said 2023 will experience double intake and will require huge infrastructure.
The learners will transition to junior secondary school after sitting a national examination at Grade Six.
The report says the total number of Grade Six and Standard Eight learners expected to join secondary school in 2023 will be 2,571,044.
The available secondary school spaces at present is only 1,081,900.
“This indicates a significant shortfall of 1,489,144 places in secondary schools in 2023,” reads the report.
The government has only allocated Sh4 billion this financial year towards infrastructure development in schools.
But with the estimation of the Ministry of Public Works that constructing a new classroom would cost Sh1.2 million, only 4,000 new classrooms would be constructed.
Yet, with the expected enrolment, 37,000 new classrooms would be required.