The government’s fresh directives on the ongoing implementation of curriculum reforms should be enforced to instil public confidence in the programme. Of late, the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) has elicited strong public criticism on several grounds.
First, concerns have been raised about the level of teacher preparedness to handle the curriculum. Secondly, parents have complained that they cannot cope with the requirement that they should assist their children with the take-away assignments, arguing that they were time-consuming and expensive. Thirdly, critics have faulted teachers for exacting demands on them to buy several textbooks and other teaching and learning resources that are financially burdensome.
It is against this background that Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has directed schools to stop making unbearable demands on parents — such as charging levies for printing learning materials and assignments and requiring them to provide many textbooks. For good measure, Prof Magoha explained that the government has supplied course books to all learners in public primary schools from pre-school to Grade Four. This is important because cost has emerged as the most worrying element for parents in CBC implementation.
Whereas it is important to issue directives, the critical thing is implementation. Field officers, particularly those responsible for quality assurance and standards, have to sink their teeth into the job. It is not for lack of policies or directives that some schools make those egregious demands; it is due to failure by administrators to enforce them.
Equally, the government has to rethink the refresher training programme offered to teachers on CBC. Statistics from Teachers Service Commission (TSC) are rosy: Some 228,000 teachers have been trained. However, the way some implement the curriculum is problematic. Perhaps, the training is too superficial as to make an impact on the teachers’ curriculum delivery or they just resist change.
In sum, education authorities should enforce all the relevant directives and guidelines to guarantee the success of CBC.