President Uhuru full speech during launch of CBC report

President Uhuru full speech during launch of CBC report

SPEECH BY H.E. HON. UHURU KENYATTA DURING THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE COMPETENCY BASED CURRICULUM (CBC) TASKFORCE REPORT.

DATE – 9TH OF FEBRUARY, 2021

VENUE – KICC NAIROBI AT 14:00 HRS.

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Afternoon,

  1. I am delighted to see so many distinguished educators here today: men and women who have spent their careers educating our children and thinking hard about the future of our education system and our children; and to whom we owe not just the report we gather to launch today, but a debt of gratitude for the construction of our new curriculum.
  2. I ask you all to join me in recognizing our educators and in thanking them for their diligence and dedicated service to the Nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Following the attack in March 2020 by this invisible enemy – COVID-19, as a caring Government, we had to close all schools, as part of the comprehensive measures we took to contain this pandemic.  We know our parents, teachers, and children across the country have had to bear unusually heavy burdens as a consequence.
  • But I must say I am grateful for the patience you all have shown, and for the speed and care with which we have resumed learning after re-opening of our learning institutions.  
  • Yes, through the tireless work of our doctors, our nurses, our medical staff, and the diligence of Kenyans themselves, we have gradually brought the pandemic under control; but we, nonetheless, remain vigilant as our children and teachers ease back into regular order

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • The report we launch today could not be more timely.  Indeed, it marks a turning point in our education system.   Every epoch in our nation has placed a unique set of demands on the skills and competencies needed in the workplace, which in turn has required us to reform and recalibrate the content and architecture of our education system.  We are marking the third transition since independence.
  • Our Founding Fathers embarked on a mission of course-correction to transition from a colonial education system that prepared learners for servitude to one that gave them the tools to lead a newly independent nation. Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 laid the ideological foundation for this transition.  
  • We re-oriented our education system and anchored it on the three goals of Mutual Social Responsibility, Africanization, and Economic productivity.
  • In 1985, we made yet another monumental shift.  We transitioned from the 7-4-2-3 system into the 8-4-4 system.  But with time, the 8-4-4 curriculum became inconsistent with the aspirations of our growing nation, particularly because of its overloaded curriculum and its academic and examination focused approach.  
  • Similarly, it proved rigid and unforgiving to the learner who did not fit into its mould.  A mould that placed inordinate emphasis on content as opposed to competency; raw knowledge as opposed to hands-on skills.
  • And as we begun re-engineering it, we had to return to the foundational principles of Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965.  The spirit of this anchor instrument was simple:citizens do not fail – systems fail them’.  And if the systems are inconsistent with the aspirations of the people, they must be changed.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. We are at a tipping-point in our education system.  The old must give way to the new.  The summons of our times requires us to re-imagine how we have educated our children.
  2. It requires us to be bold, and not rigid.  It calls us to imagine a system that creates responsible citizens as opposed to subjects; a system that celebrates the creative potential of all our children as opposed to one that leaves them with labels of failure, if they do not pass exams; And a system that brings about freedom as opposed to conformity. This is the promise of the Competency Based Curriculum.
  1. But the Report we are launching today summarizes our response to the challenges we face even better.
  2. As Franklin D. Roosevelt so ably indicated “we cannot always build the future for our youthbut we can build our youth for the future.”
  1. If the challenge of our time is that of rapid technological growth, then the response of our education system must be that of Digital Literacy.
  1. If the challenge of our time is the need to resiliently confront unprecedented crises such as COVID-19, then the response of our education system must be that of teaching our children the skill of critical thinking and problem solving.
  1. And if the challenge of our time is to become globally competitive, then the response of our education system must be the inculcation of 21st century skills, which are value based and strong in furthering our knowledge base.
  1. Our country is rich with possibilities.  But our most important asset is our children and young people.  And to harness this bounty, our children must be trained to be imaginative and creative.  Without imagination, we miss out on possibilities.  We see only what “is”; as opposed to what could “be”.  We must train our children to dream because dreaming expands our frontiers.  This is what this Report is inviting us to do.
  1. On citizenship, we have a crisis of competence and our education system must give us a response.  Youth violence and pessimism are partly a result of low civic competence amongst citizens.  And this is because we have not taught our children the values of citizen participation from an early age.  This is why youth pessimism and blind activism are on the rise.  
  1. This report gives us two responses to the challenge of low civic competence.
  • The first one is about training our children from an early age to understand their responsibilities to fellow Kenyans, their duties to the country and the rights they derive from exercising these obligations. And the second response is having our education system teach our children to believe that they have a purpose.  The report calls it self-efficacy or belief in self.  This is critical in a world that teaches our children that they are not good enough.  Self-efficacy, under the Competence Based Curriculum, will reverse this anomaly.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • This report identifies one more challenge in the education system.  It seeks to reform the rigid production of workers.   We want to introduce what the report calls “Learning to Learn.  We do not want our children to be bound to systems of learning that have rigid histories and pre-determined ends.  The purpose of the new system of “Learning to Learn” is to allow our children to explore, innovate and unshackle their minds from the old and rigid molds of learning.
  • This way they will be able to exploit their imagination, creativity, solve problems, use critical thinking, apply digital literacy, and feel a sense of civic duty as citizens.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • The Taskforce has made several recommendations and consulted widely including through 11 sector-based pre-conferences.  This is important because it underscores my Administration’s commitment to adhere to the tenets of public participation, as envisioned in our constitution. 
  • In this regard, to ensure effective implementation of these recommendations, and other curriculum reforms, I have on this 9th Day of February, 2021 set my hand and presidential seal and established a new State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms vested in the Ministry of Education.
  • Further to these reforms, I wish to direct the Ministry of Education to:
  • Establish a comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism that will facilitate tracking of the implementation process so that prompt interventions can be incorporated where necessary;
  1. Re-engineer the Standards and Quality Assurance function to ensure that Competency Based Curriculum is implemented with fidelity to its aspirations;
  2. Work with the Teachers Service Commission to ensure that all teachers continue getting comprehensive training on implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum;
  1. Collaborate with all relevant institutions to enhance assessment and education programmes for all learners with special needs and disabilities, including the gifted and talented children;
  • Work with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to establish mechanisms of sharing physical and human resources between senior secondary schools and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions;
  • Domicile all sports academies to ensure their curriculum and assessment is standardized; this will offer learners in these academies opportunities to engage in other curricula outside sports depending on their potential and career interests;
  • Rationalise all programmes and courses offered in universities to ensure they are adequately prepared for admission of the first Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) cohort in 2029; and
  • Work with all stakeholders in the sector and government ministries to ensure that the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) reforms are smoothly and systematically rolled out at all levels of education.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Our Founding Fathers taught us that to be Architects of our destiny, we must plan for it.  Given that the challenges of our times call us to respond using our education system, we can only succeed through designing and implementing a fit-for-purposes education system.  
  • That is why we are changing our system of education; so that children in the country have an equal opportunity at achieving their aspirations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • We will succeed because of our ability to imagine, plan and implement expeditiously, solutions that are appropriate and responsive.  This Report sheds light on the path we must take.  We thank the Task force and theSecretariat for delivering the light.  Now it is up to us follow the path that they have lit for us.  
  • This is why I am laying particular emphasis on effective and institutionalized implementation of the Curriculum reforms; as we must seize the day and ensure that every grade of our children have the very best opportunities that our Nation can secure for them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • It is now my distinct honour and pleasure to declare the Report for the Competency-Based Curriculum reforms, officially launched and adopted.

Asanteni Sana and God Bless You.

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