What you need to know:
- While some want the system abolished, others say scrapping it should not be an option.
- Educationalist Janet Muthoni said the CBC debate should be approached soberly as parents and the government have invested a lot.
- Education experts say it will be important for the new task force to look into the CBC task force report released last year and interrogate it well as they engage stakeholders before making new recommendations.
The debate on the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) and the planned establishment of a new CBC task force has ignited mixed reactions among parents and other stakeholders.
While some want the system abolished, others say scrapping it should not be an option.
Education expert Jonathan Wesaya said even though CBC is not properly being implemented, it should just be improved, not abolished.
“We cannot punish the more than eight million children who are under CBC because of our mistakes. We should find a solution to the double transition of Grade Six learners and Standard Eight candidates,” he said.
He said before the curriculum was rolled out, the country should have looked at the philosophy on which it is anchored and established its goal, for it to work.
Educationalist Janet Muthoni said the CBC debate should be approached soberly as parents and the government have invested a lot.
“The conversation that the President has asked for I want to believe is not about scrapping CBC or continuing with it, but it’s a conversation of looking at what has worked and improved on it and what has not worked so that we see how to fix it,” said Ms Muthoni, adding the conversation requires a higher level of responsibility as it involves children and parents who have invested a lot.
Mr Wilson Sossion, the former Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general, said before the CBC was introduced, teachers needed to have undergone quality training, which was not the case.
“When Amina Mohamed, the former Cabinet Secretary for Education, received a summative report from experts that had been assigned that the country was not ready and if we needed to roll out the CBC we needed more time to prepare, it was agreed to postpone it, but within a few days, the CS was removed and business cartels took over.”
The CBC was rolled out in 2017.
During his inauguration, President William Ruto announced that he will be forming a new task force to probe the CBC and take into account public participation.
The task force will come in place a year after ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta received a report from another CBC task force committee he appointed in 2019.
Education experts say it will be important for the new task force to look into the CBC task force report released last year and interrogate it well as they engage stakeholders before making new recommendations.
The Ministry of Education has been implementing earlier recommendations, key among them, the administration of Kenya Primary School Education Assessment summative assessment for Grade Six learners.
The task force report recommended that junior secondary be domiciled in secondary schools.
However, after more consultations, the ministry has allowed private primary schools to establish junior secondary schools at their institutions.
The ministry also plans to have primary schools sharing compounds with secondary schools to host junior secondary. Under this plan, it has identified 1,500 primary schools sharing a compound with secondary schools.
Parents have been having mixed reactions as some call for a return to the 8-4-4 system while others say CBC is a good system if implemented the right way.
According to Ms Lucy Maina, CBC implementation is the problem. “I love the CBC and request fellow parents to embrace the system,” she said.
In an effort to defend the successful progressive CBC implementation, the Education Ministry has released the first-ever volume of the Education Bulletin, 2022, highlighting the progress made and why the system is a major education reform that should be embraced.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the 8-4-4 system was introduced more than 30 years ago and although it provided the foundation for expansion, the CBC system is the way to go.
Prof Fatuma Chege, the Principal Secretary in charge of curriculum reforms and implementation, said in a few years, CBC outcomes will be different.
“It is worth noting that we have come a long way as far as CBC implementation is concerned. We remain focused on our mandate to coordinate the implementation of curriculum reforms across pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education levels.”
Prof Chege said the ministry has made everything possible to ensure smooth implementation.
Early Learning and Basic Education PS Julius Jwan supported the building of necessary foundations for the realisation of CBC aims and objectives.
Kenya institute of Curriculum Development CEO Charles Ong’ondo said CBC “focuses on nurturing the unique talents and abilities of a learner as opposed to examination scores.”