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Do Not Scrap CBC, Magoha Tells Ruto

The Ministry of Education has leapt to the defence of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) amid growing fears that it may be remodelled or scrapped altogether by the new government. In the first CBC implementation bulletin-Volume 1, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha says that the 8-4-4 system of education introduced over 30 years ago had outlived its usefulness.

He said 8-4-4 provided the foundation for expansion of education opportunities, apart from preparing learners for the then emerging labour market or for self-employment. “The current environment is radically different from what the 8-4-4 system of education was created to respond to. We are now in a knowledge-based society faced with the constantly changing challenges, constraints and opportunities. This needs a new kind of education… an education that equips learners not just with knowledge, but capacity to learn and relearn,” the CS states.

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The bulletin comes in the backdrop of mixed reactions on the way forward for CBC, on whether it should remain or be abolished.

Upon his inauguration last Tuesday, President William Ruto said that he would form an education reform taskforce in coming weeks. President Ruto said the taskforce will collect views from all key players in line with the constitutional demand of public participation on CBC and how best to implement it. “There is a robust conversation in the country on education, in particular the implementation of the CBC curriculum. Public participation is critical in this matter. We will establish an education reform taskforce in the Presidency, which will be launched in the coming weeks,” said Ruto.

Ruto also said his government is aware of the anxieties of parents on the twin transitions of the last 8-4-4 class and the first CBC class in January next year. “I assure that there will be a solution to the matter before then,” said Ruto.

But at the weekend, the Ministry defended the critical role that CBC plays saying Kenya has set in motion an ambitious but essential review and reform of its education system. “The goal is to equip the students with requisite knowledge, skills and competences that will enable them to contribute in meaningful ways to society,” Magoha explained in the bulletin. His sentiments were echoed by Implementation of Curriculum Reforms, Principal Secretary Prof Fatuma Chege, who said that the Ministry is confident that in a few years the education outcomes will be different from today. “The learners under this innovative curriculum of CBC will have the right skills, values, knowledge and attitudes to effectively deal with local, regional and global, social, cultural, economic and technological demands. There will be new solutions, a drive to a better future and a new paradigm of teaching and learning,” she said.

Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) Chief Executive, David Njengere said that since CBC inception, the Council has been putting in place the necessary systems to facilitate effective Competency Based Assessment (CBA), while ensuring that the processes are credible and in line with globally acceptable standards. Contrary to complaints that CBC is costly, the Ministry insists it demands nothing beyond a delivery mechanism that requires enhanced imagination, creativity, skill and innovation among teachers. “It requires learners to be more attentive, curious, observant and inquisitive. It envisions learners who ask questions at school and home. Further, it expects learners to participate in activities that stimulate learning. The Ministry also stated that the curriculum content can be effectively taught without requiring parents or guardians to spend more buying things from the market or downloading materials from the Internet. Additional costs “The school and home environment of learners abounds with learning aids that teachers and learners can use without additional costs. All the topics taught in schools, particularly in primary, are based on the natural environment,” the Ministry explains. “It does not matter whether the ideas or concepts are about plant or animal life. It does not matter whether the ideas are about the nature and behaviour of living or non-living things. School and home environment is surrounded by all these things.”

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