Exit 8-4-4 but jealously guard new CBC

Pupils at Mboto Sunrise Primary School work on their competency-based curriculum assignment under a tree

Pupils at Mboto Sunrise Primary School work on their competency-based curriculum assignment under a tree in September, 2022. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The results of the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, the last one, closed a great era spanning four decades.

All Kenyans of goodwill must now guard the new beginning of an education system that is expected to propel our nation to industrial development, tasked by implementing the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

CBC has more advantages than 8-4-4; the latter had its misses; it was exam-oriented and more academic as opposed to exploring and nurturing competencies and capabilities in CBC. The exiting 8-4-4 was, on several occasions, accused of producing half-baked graduates who could not adequately compete in the job market, leading to high unemployment rates.

CBC is expected to shift the approach from cut-throat competition to real assessment of learners’ potential by teachers from pre-primary level, guiding them on their pathway by individually selecting future careers.

CBC discourages ranking and competition. The full potential of every learner is key with emphasis on honing practical skills to yield not jobseekers but creators of employment. No wonder, educationist and scholar Elin Nordegren said, “Education is one thing no one can take away from you”.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu was equal to the task when he told his fellow Kenyans that we are only transitioning from a structure of education that has served us well to one that will serve us even better.

The transition, however, comes as the government undergoes challenges such as struggling to fund the free secondary education programme, hosting of junior secondary school (JSS) and shortage of teachers, infrastructure and equipment.

Kenyans must jealously guard CBC, which is aimed at building a more practical curriculum that hones technical skills and knowledge such as innovation and technology for the realisation of industrial development.

- Mr Kurgat is a lecturer at the School of Information Sciences, Moi University. [email protected].