Several Members of the National Assembly yesterday demanded the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) be scrapped, citing costs and poor preparation.
Lawmakers from both sides of the divide united in demanding that the government abolishes the new system, saying it is too expensive.
But Education committee chairperson Julius Melly (Tinderet) defended the curriculum saying the challenges being experienced were not new as the same was witnessed during the transition to the 8-4-4 system.
“I remember when 8-4-4 was started in 1984/1985 Kenyans were up in arms and wanted us to go back to the old system. The issue that I know is of contention is the issue of teaching staff which we need to address,” he said.
While contributing to an adjournment motion by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma, the lawmakers said the system had created confusion in the education sector.
Kaluma singled out the Junior Secondary School (JSS) saying the transition from primary to secondary school was not well thought out.
MPs claimed they were being forced to carry the burden of footing the bills occasioned by the curriculum as they are required to buy books, uniforms and pay school for some of learners.
“I am here to plead with this House that we stop this CBC so that we continue with education that is meaningful to our children. What is happening now is that this system is for the rich as only those with money are able to take their children to private schools,” said Kaluma.
Kaluma said that in Homa Bay, JSSs had been allocated one teacher who is required to teach more than 14 subjects.
In its preliminary report, the task force on the education sector has recommended a five-year transition period to phase out the 8-4-4 system.
The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms says the transition period will enable the government to develop adequate infrastructure for the new system.
Majority Whip and South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro called for the scrapping of the system on grounds that it was rushed and is expensive for ordinary Kenyans.
“CBC targets the rich and those who live in urban areas. I think somebody just wanted to rush this programme. This thing was not a plan of the Kenya Kwanza government,” he said.
Minority Whip Junet Mohammed (Suna East) said the transition to junior secondary was poorly done as most schools only have one teacher covering 12 subjects.
Deputy Minority whip Robert Mbui (Kathiani) said despite the curriculum beginning seven years ago, the Ministry of Education had not adequately prepared for its implementation.
“I think the rain started beating us when we allowed the Ministry of Education to ignore sections of the Constitution. If we had put our foot down then we would not be here. All primary schools should be allowed to continue with JSS. The students should be allowed to continue learning where they are. Finally we must invest in classrooms and laboratories. We need to deal with confusion,” he said.
Deputy Majority Whip Naomi Waqo (Marsabit Woman Rep) said there is need for the country to take more time on the curriculum to make it better.
“CBC is expensive and tedious to the pupils and this is affecting the entire nation and thus we need to know how we can review the entire thing. Also we need to prepare the teachers and parents and put in place infrastructure in place. As much as I support the new curriculum, I would want us to give ourselves more time so that we prepare ourselves better,” she said.
Busia Woman Rep Catherine Nakhabi also called for the scrapping of the system on grounds that it had widened the gap between the rich and poor.
Nominated MP Irene Mayaka also said the system was not working because proper infrastructure to support the new syllabus had not been put in place.
“We don’t have proper infrastructure to implement CBC. The success of CBC depends on it. Access to electricity and the internet is not the same. The country has a long way to go,” she said.