Stop extreme interpretation of CBC, private schools warned

The Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) chairperson Mutheu Kasanga.

Photo credit: File

The Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) chairperson Mutheu Kasanga has warned private schools against using the new curriculum to profiteer.

Ms Kasanga said the move had made the competency-based curriculum (CBC) appear expensive for parents.

She said that although there are some challenges, some private schools have made “extreme interpretations of what the new curriculum requires”, demanding a long list of books and stationery that a learner should take to school at the beginning of every term.

Parents have raised concerns about the CBC saying that it has pushed up the cost of learning for them.

“We are seeing schools doing extreme interpretations of what the new curriculum needs. Some of the items in the list given by schools to parents are unnecessary. And we have seen that these issues have started this year,” Ms Kasanga said.

She predicted that some booksellers are colluding with some school principals to ensure that their books are on the list for commercial purposes and not learning.

This is happening without the knowledge of the school directors, she claimed.

Gone the extra mile

“We contacted a few schools who we had seen had gone overboard with their lists of books and asked the school principals to at least strike off a few. These are issues that we are addressing,” she explained.

“If you look at the curriculum design you will find that some schools have gone the extra mile to ask students to come with a ream of printing paper and chalks, among other things.”

These are items that ideally should be in the schools’ budget, under stationery.

“I know of a school that asked each student to come with a ream of printing papers and other items. If one class has a minimum of 25 students and they each bring a ream of printing papers. What is a school going to do with all these printing papers? I think parents should also interrogate some of these things and should not just blindly accept everything a school tells them to do,” Ms Kasanga advised.

But she says the government is not making the situation any better.

“Somehow we are caught between a rock and a hard place. For the 8-4-4 curriculum, you would find five subjects in one workbook but now each subject has its workbook. The good thing is that we are in talks with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. We also keep on reminding section heads to know that we exist in the same (economic) environment with the parents,” Ms Kasanga said.