Public schools lead in CBC practicals, research shows

Grade 4 pupils during a CBC practical exam.

Grade 4 pupils during a CBC practical exam.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Public primary schools are leading in the implementation of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) practical lessons, research has shown.

The schools are doing much better than their private counterparts when it comes to practicals, said Prof Charles Ong’ondo, the director of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), which conducted the study.

“Public schools have done well in this, you’ve ensured learners experience practicals and creative activities. Even though we are accused of asking learners to come with chicken, this has helped in learning. Our research shows public schools have ensured a lot of practicals,” said Prof Ong’ondo.

Some learners believe chicken come from supermarkets, he said, however, with learning in schools the children have been exposed to practicals, and are now engaging in house chores, including cooking, and solving problems, thanks to the practical lessons in school.

Speaking during the Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association meeting at the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Primary School in Mombasa, the KICD boss urged the more than 10,000 school managers to ensure learning is interesting, and that learners collaborate and engage in practicals.


Prof Ong’ondo supported the move by the state to domicile junior secondary school in primary learning institutions, saying the transition will be beneficial to the learners.

“Because you have known these children for six years, they are aged 12 to 15, transiting at a very critical stage of their lives. You will be able to guide them. You are the best people to transit these learners physically. When they break their voice you will guide them, you are the midwives as they transition from socialisation to exploration,” said the KICD director.

He urged the teachers to take care of the pupils’ emotional development.

“Some of them did not even know they were doing KPSEA. So you have to explain to them. Last week, in one of the schools, two children began crying due to a mix-up in their (exam) sheets. Their teacher had to be called — not even the invigilator — to talk to them,” said Prof Ong’ondo.

The institute advises the government on curriculum matters, develops curriculum for all levels of education except universities, and evaluates all curriculum support materials.

“I see a number of our partners here who are publishers, with their publications. Headteachers, any time publications come to your institutions, always ask whether they have been approved by KICD because we serve as gatekeepers to ensure the materials have been checked for their relevance, access and utility values to the learners,” said Prof Ong’ondo.

He urged teachers to ensure learning is interesting and learners do not feel tortured, forced and unhappy while in school.


Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir assured learners that his administration will promote education through issuance of bursaries to needy learners and students and improving enrolment and retention through school feeding programmes.

“I want the Early Childhood Development Education centres to have a free lunch programme. We get the funds from the licences we are imposing on miraa shops,” said Mr Nassir.

He added that his administration has waived licences and penalties for all schools that were struggling and those that closed down due to the pandemic.