In Summary
  • Stakeholders in the education sector have previously pointed out major gaps that need to be closed before the new curriculum is implemented.

  • And, as schools re-opened Tuesday after a two-month break, parents and teachers were conflicted on what materials to buy and what to prepare for classwork.

  • The proposed system will replace the current 8-4-4 curriculum, introduced in schools in 1985.

Will there, or will there not, be a new education curriculum? That was the question on the minds of Kenyans last evening as education experts prepared to meet Wednesday at a special conference to determine, among other things, the Ministry of Education’s preparedness to roll out ambitious reforms in the sector.

There were indications Tuesday that the launch of the new curriculum could be pushed forward to next year to allow for, among others, training of all teachers and printing of teaching materials.

Stakeholders in the education sector have previously pointed out major gaps that need to be closed before the new curriculum is implemented. Among them are lack of training materials to guide the curriculum, failure to involve all stakeholders, and failure to train teachers.

Wednesday's National Steering Committee on Curriculum Reforms meeting, therefore, comes amidst confusion in the education sector as to whether to stick to the old curriculum or wait for direction on the new syllabus.

MATERIALS

And, as schools re-opened Tuesday after a two-month break, parents and teachers were conflicted on what materials to buy and what to prepare for classwork.

At various bookshops in the country, parents queued to buy textbooks and other learning materials for the current curriculum, but said they feared a new directive from the ministry could force them back to the shops in a matter of days, if not hours.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i will chair this morning’s conference, which will also be attended by officials from the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).

The 36-member National Steering Committee on Curriculum Reforms was launched last year by Dr Matiang’i to oversee and guide reforms in the sector, and yesterday KICD director Julius Jwan told Nation that the institution will present a report on the new, competency-based curriculum today before the team reaches a final decision on its implementation.

PREPAREDNESS

“We presented the report on our preparedness on the implementation of the curriculum to the Ministry of Education,” said Dr Jwan, “and we shall be presenting the same report during the meeting.”

The planned roll-out of the new syllabus has been largely clouded in uncertainty since the last quarter of 2017, even though the Ministry of Education has spent a fortune readying its officers to oversee the transition. More than 170,000 teachers were scheduled to be trained last month in readiness for the launch this term. Those targeted for the training were teachers handling pupils from nursery school to Standard Three.

The proposed system will replace the current 8-4-4 curriculum, introduced in schools in 1985. The current system, whose fate could be sealed today, is based on eight years of primary school, four years of secondary school, and four years of university.

The new system, according to KICD, places more emphasis on continuous assessment tests (CATs) over one-off examinations.

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