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State, Teachers Unions Defend CBC

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State, Teachers Unions Defend CBC.The government has defended the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), explaining why the previous 8-4-4 system was deemed unsatisfactory.In response to a case in which a lawyer wants the new system scrapped on the grounds that it is a foreign concept imposed on Kenyans, the government stated that reverting to 8-4-4 would also mean the end of the country’s economic blueprint, Vision 2030.In her case before the High Court in Nairobi, lawyer Esther Ang’awa argued that the CBC imposes a significant financial burden on parents and guardians and that its implementation should be halted until the outcome of her suit is determined.At the heart of the lawyer’s case is the claim that the new system was implemented without prior planning or consultation with key stakeholders.Anga’awa, who has since changed his mind about the case, claimed that teachers are unprepared and that implementing the new curriculum will harm children’s future.According to her, CBC is inferior to 8-4-4 because it “does not meet the needs of the country."The country settled on the 2-6-3-3-3 education system after it became clear that the 8-4-4 system had many gaps, according to the government’s responses contained in court documents obtained by The Standard.According to the government, students in the old educational system did not exhibit the characteristics learned after school.The government claims that the new curriculum meets the needs of children and that secondary school graduates will gain knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes necessary to succeed in the labor market.Ang’awa had sued Education CS George Magoha, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), the National Assembly, and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, seeking an injunction to halt the CBC rollout.Ang’awa told the court through her lawyer Nelson Havi that their actions as set forth in the petition, are manifestly unconstitutional and unlawful,  prejudicial to the future of Kenyan children, and should be halted pending the hearing and determination of the questions raised.However, in a series of responses, the Ministry of Education, KICD, and Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) have gone on the record to explain how and why the 2-6-3-3-3 system was picked.The government detailed the extensive preparations and investments that had gone into the CBC since 2019, culminating in the curriculum’s successful implementation in some counties, particularly during the piloting stage.TSC also explained how it prepared teachers for the CBC rollout through training and sensitization.CBC Abolishment Case Lawyer grows Cold Feet.The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and Knut have both backed the government.Early Childhood and Basic Education PS Julius Jwan is the primary target of Ang’awa’s case. Dr. Jwan argued in court documents that CBC was founded on the need for the right skills to help Kenya industrialize. According to Jwan, the new educational system was benchmarked against countries such as Malaysia and South Korea.The PS traced Kenya’s education reforms back to 1964, when then-Education Minister Joseph James Otiende formed a commission to design a new system that would restructure the colonial master’s system of learning. The Kenya Education Commission was established in 1964, led by Prof Simon Ominde and comprised 17 members, including former Finance Minister David Mwiraria.According to the documents filed before justices Hedwig Ong’undi, Anthony Mrima, and Anthony Ndungu’u, there was a need to change from a system that limited black Africans’ industrial, technical, and vocational education at the time.The team devised the 7-4-2-3 system and suggested changes in geography and history to promote national cohesion. Tanzania, too, has adopted the same system.In 1983, President Daniel Moi established a Presidential Working Party led by Dr Collins Mackay, whose 17-member team would design the 8-4-4 system.Moi later established the Maina Wanjigi committee to study and recommend strategies for combating unemployment in Kenya. The committee, which consisted of nine members, recommended that the 8-8-4 system be used to identify talents rather than having exams based solely on academic merit.According to Jwan, the plan was to create a system in which testing would focus on technical training, academic progression, skill appreciation, originality, creativity, general personality, and attitude development.A heavy bias in content would be in the last two years of primary education, with the eighth year serving as a meaningful terminal for those who did not wish to progress up the academic ladder.The secondary school would have two main streams: academic and trade. This would result in the establishment of a National Service Scheme (similar to the current National Youth Service) as a pre-university requirement.The Wanjigi committee also suggested that the government create a curriculum for pre-primary children.“Despite recommendations of the Wanjigi committee report, the government proceeded to roll out the 8-4-4 system without factoring in the pre-primary education (early childhood development education),” Jwan added.Another group, the James Kamunge Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond, recommended that vocational training be implemented in primary schools in 1988.They wanted the government to fund the construction of science labs as well as the purchase of science teaching equipment. The 17-person team also urged the government to encourage communities near schools to build libraries and provide books on a cost-sharing basis.In 2000, the Davy Koech Commission of Inquiry into Kenya’s Education System was established to investigate what children were learning and whether it was adequate for the country’s development.The 26-member team discovered that co-curricular activities were prioritized.It was suggested that the curriculum and its delivery be redesigned in a more balanced manner.Dr. Mackay, a Canadian, Jwan claimed, was the man behind 8-4-4. His deputy was a citizen of the United States. There was no Kenyan on the team who played a significant role.He contends that Mackay’s emphasis was not on basic education. According to him, the 8-4-4 system is a foreign concept, whereas CBC is a homegrown solution.The PS believes that the former system is unconstitutional because it does not mandate pre-primary education. Jwan contended that reverting to 8-4-4, as suggested by Ang’awa, would effectively kill Kenya’s Vision 2030.He stated that a task force led by Prof Dauglas Okoth in 2011 recommended a 2-6-6-2-3 system after discovering that the 8-4-4 system was deficient because students did not demonstrate the attributes learned after school.The Basic Education Curriculum Framework 2017 and Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 on the policy framework for reforming education and training for sustainable development in Kenya introduced the CBC.“Asian and Latin America countries, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico have reformed their secondary education and training systems focusing on the quality and relevance of learning outcomes,” Jwan argued.The lawyer contended that the CBC cannot be implemented without amending Basic Education Act No. 4 of 2013. According to Ang’awa, overhauling 8-4-4 is illegal and ambiguous because it converts a primary school into a secondary institution without a clear transition process.She claimed that concerns raised by former Education CS Amina Mohamed (now Sports CS) about the implementation of CBC were never addressed.Amina recommended in 2018 that the CBC be halted until the issues that were arising were fully addressed.

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