The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development CEO Prof Charles Ong’ondo has warned that reversing the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) would cost the country more than sh. 200 billion.
The KICD boss says the government rolled out CBC after conducting intensive stakeholder consultations in response to the needs of the 21st century about creativity, imagination and digital literacy.
His comments comes barely a day after Alliance National Congress (ANC) leader, Musalia Mudavadi, said his Kenya Kwanza alliance will scrap the CBC once they form the next government.
Speaking on Sunday, Mudavadi said the programme was implemented in a rush, and without consultation with stakeholders.
“The controversial Competence-Based-Curriculum of education will be scraped once the Ruto/Mudavadi government takes power in August,” he said on Twitter.
The ANC leader through his party said the CBC system is a burden to parents in the country.
“This year parents have suffered. This system is good but maybe it has been implemented hurriedly. We don’t know when a term started or when it ends
“If elected, we will do away with the system,” Mudavadi said on Monday in Busia.
However the KICD boss has warned against such move saying every education reform has its “teething problems” and “some discomfort,”.
Ong’ondo says its impossible to do away with CBC as this will prove more costly to the country.
“Reversing CBC is like saying we do away with the 2010 Constitution or uproot the standard gauge railway. We would lose more than Sh200 billion invested in CBC so far,” Professor Ong’ondo said.
The KICD boss says the Competency Based Curriculum is designed to solve many problems that came with the 8.4.4 curriculum.
“If we scrap CBC, it’s like saying we go back and stop thinking about the digital world; it is like saying we go back to the knowledge-based era of recalling without the ability to demonstrate what has been learned,” he said.
Though Mudavadi argues that wide consultations were not made, the Ministry of Education officials have dismissed such claims that it rushed to implement the competency-based curriculum.
KICD assistant director Subira Neema said the reforms were taken through intense research and assessment.
“What probably our audience doesn’t know is when this process started, it started way back in 2005 and a lot of processes that were informed by research happened,” Neema said.
The assistant director added that a pilot programme was conducted before the official national rollout.
“We started with a pilot in 2017 and 2018 and then we had the national rollout. From there, we have had grade-by-grade transition,” she added.
The pioneer class is in Grade 5 and will transition to Grade 6 in April. This will be the end of upper primary school.
Neema further said the current curriculum is aligned with social and political dynamics faced in the world.
“We know that these are not static, they change from time to time and therefore it is incumbent upon the Education ministry to then look at how it addresses the issues that arise,” she said.
Curriculum Reforms and Implementation PS Fatuma Chege urged parents to be supportive of CBC.
“The current reforms that are being implemented were envisioned in Vision 2030, when you want to draw a vision for your country, education becomes the core of your social pillar,” Chege said.
He faulted private school heads who impose numerous books to be bought by parents.
“The schools which were demanding more books than the ones required by the ministry were identified and asked to pull out,” she said.
Ministry of Education director general Elyas Abdi said the country is adequately prepared to host junior secondary students in 2023.
The government is expected to create 37,000 new classrooms nationally to cater for the anticipated double intake of learners.
According to projections, 1.5 million new places (37,000 classrooms) should be created by the end of next year in secondary schools.
This is meant to deal with a looming shortfall that will be caused by double intake in 2023.
In 2023 the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) will spill over to junior secondary. Junior secondary school will comprise of Grades 7, 8 and 9.
Senior secondary school will comprise of Grades 10, 11 and 12.
In 2023, pioneer learners under the new 2-6-3-3-3 CBC system will transition to junior secondary school after sitting the Grade Six national examinations.
The Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan said that the junior secondary school will be domiciled both in secondary and primary schools.
“Classrooms used by pupils of class seven and eight will remain vacant due to the introduction of the CBC. But the classrooms will not go to waste because they are public resources. Instead, they will be used by students of Junior secondary schools,” Jwan said.
The government also allowed private schools to set up junior secondary classes to ease the transition of learners.
Education CS George Magoha said the government does not have enough land, especially in the cities, to set up all the requisite facilities ahead of the transition.
He asked private schools to start establishing additional structures to aid in the transition.
Already the Commission made the announcement that it will train at least 60,000 secondary school teachers to handle junior secondary classes in March and April 2022.