President Uhuru Kenyatta has unveiled a new state department to oversee the ongoing implementation of the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC).
The new State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms within the Ministry of Education has been tasked with the role of the new education system including recommendations of a task force whose report the President launched on Tuesday.
The report is the work of a task force on enhancing access relevance transition and quality for effective curriculum reform implementation
appointed by education cs professor George magoha in 2019.
The task force which was chaired by professor Fatuma Chege the deputy vice-chancellor at Kenyatta University was among other duties charged with advising the government on the transition of grade six of CBC and standard 7 and 8 of 8-4-4 pupils in 2023.
It was also charged with domiciling of grades seven eight and nine within the basic education structure and competence-based assessment for the
“We do not want our children to be bound to systems of learning that have rigid histories and predetermined ends.
“The Taskforce has made several recommendations and consulted widely including through 11 sector-based pre-conferences. This is important because it underscores my Administration’s commitment to adhere to the tenets of public participation, as envisioned in our constitution.
“In this regard, to ensure effective implementation of these recommendations, and other curriculum reforms, I have on this 9th Day of February 2021 set my hand and presidential seal and established a new State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms vested in the Ministry of Education,” President Kenyatta declared.
The Head of State announced the changes Tuesday at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi County when he presided over the unveiling of a task force report dubbed ‘Enhancing Access, Relevance and Quality for Effective Curriculum Reforms Implementation’.
The Head of State, who recalled Kenya’s curriculum reforms over the decades, said CBC will make Kenya’s education system responsive to the demands of the modern world and rallied Kenyans to back the process.
“We are at a tipping point in our education system. The old must give way to the new. The summons of our times requires us to re-imagine how we have educated our children.
“It requires us to be bold, and not rigid. It calls us to imagine a system that creates responsible citizens as opposed to subjects; a system that celebrates the creative potential of all our children as opposed to one that leaves them with labels of failure if they do not pass exams;
“And a system that brings about freedom as opposed to conformity. This is the promise of the Competency-Based Curriculum,” the President said.
Besides equipping Kenyan children with the competencies needed to excel in the 21st century, the Head of State said CBC will empower Kenyans to be better citizens.
“On citizenship, we have a crisis of competence and our education system must give us a response. Youth violence and pessimism are partly a result of low civic competence amongst citizens.
“And this is because we have not taught our children the values of citizen participation from an early age. This is why youth pessimism and blind activism are on the rise,” President Kenyatta said.
The President applauded the Taskforce led by Professor Fatuma Chege for its report saying its recommendations will help lessen the rigidity in the current education system by introducing the ‘leading to learning’ principle.
“The purpose of the new system of ‘Learning to Learn’ is to allow our children to explore, innovate and unshackle their minds from the old and rigid molds of learning.
“This way they will be able to exploit their imagination, creativity, solve problems, use critical thinking, apply digital literacy, and feel a sense of civic duty as citizens,” he said.
On the re-opening of schools, the Head of State said the Government continues to be vigilant as schools resume after a long period of closure due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease.
“But I must say I am grateful for the patience you all have shown, and for the speed and care with which we have resumed learning after re-opening of our learning institutions.
“Yes, through the tireless work of our doctors, our nurses, our medical staff, and the diligence of Kenyans themselves, we have gradually brought the pandemic under control; but we, nonetheless, remain vigilant as our children and teachers ease back into regular order, the President said.
Education CS Prof George Magoha, his Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang, Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia and Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria who is also the Chairperson of the Education Committee at the Council Governors also spoke at the event attended by a cross-section of education sector stakeholders.
150,000 Teachers Trained On CBC
“We have already trained 150 000 teachers and we are on track to training others, and the new diploma courses that will start specifically for CBC will be rolled out in May this year.” Said Professor Magoha.
At the launch of the CBC task force report education stakeholders such as the Kenyan National Association for Parents say they are in full support of the suggestions in the report.
“The task force has recommended that the transition from primary grade 6 to junior secondary grade 7 shall not be based on one of the national summative examinations.
The recommendation is on policy and strategy where we embrace best practices in the world of implementing continuous assessments that will help capture every learner’s achievement continually throughout their educational career.” Said Professor Chege, chair of the CBC task force.
The ministry of education is expected to provide friendly infrastructure for children with special needs and disability, and fast track the transition from primary to secondary school for these learners.
Implementation has faced Opposition
Since the formation of the committee in 2016 the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has opposed the curriculum over fears that it would diminish the role of teachers.
A section of parents who opposed it said that the curriculum bought cost implications but there may be more changes in store.
With the first CBC cohort from basic to university education set to occur in 2029, the focus will now be on the fidelity of its implementation in schools across the country.
Despite resistance from several education stakeholders on the competency-based curriculum, the ministry of education argues that the time is ripe for curriculum review as the country has struggled for far too long on focus on content other than competency.