The Government introduced the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) to replace the 8-4-4 system of education following the results of a needs assessment carried out countrywide by a team of experts. The assessment indicated that the 8-4-4 system had become unpopular, because it was examination oriented at the expense of other education needs.
The resounding recommendation was that the country needed a curriculum that would embrace the differences in ability and learning styles of the recipients, and ultimately enable each learner to realise success and fulfillment within their individual capacities. This set the stage for conceptualisation of the relevant learning areas that would make these goals a reality.
The proposed curriculum basically replaces the current Standard One to Form Four with Grade 1 to Grade 12 and the changes have been captured in the ‘Basic Education Curriculum Framework,’ (BECF) that is available on the KICD website https://kicd.ac.ke/curriculum-reform/basic-education-curriculum-framework/. Besides, early identification and nurturing of talents, it mainly focuses on what the learner can do as opposed to just what one can remember.
Implementation of the 2-6-3-3 system of education is being undertaken in phases starting with Early Years Education (Pre-Primary 1 & 2, and Grade 1, 2 and 3)
CBC basically replaces the current Standard One to Form Four with Grades 1 to 12 and the changes have been captured in the BECF. Besides, early identification and nurturing of talents, it mainly focuses on what the learner can do as opposed to just what one can remember.
Parents are required to play a very active role in the growth and development of their children under the new curriculum. They must ensure the child’s learning is well supported both at home and school to help them grow into responsible citizens with the right values. KICD has developed the Guidelines on Parental Empowerment and Engagement (https://kicd.ac.ke/cbc-materials/guidelines-on-parental-empowerment-and-engagement/) to help parents with the shared responsibilities in with schools to provide an enabling environment that is conducive to learning and which motivates children to achieve their full potential.
The pilot phase began with an initial meeting with all the head teachers at the selected pilot schools on April 21 2016 at KICD, which was presided over by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education. This was followed by training of Quality Assurance and Standards Officers and Curriculum Support Officers (CSOs) to prepare them for their supervisory role, and teachers have also been trained.
The new curriculum, which is competency based emphasizes on utilization of formative assessment as the basis for improvement of teaching and learning. The continuous assessment tests set to replace one-off examinations will be standardized and administered at various levels.
The goal of the new curriculum is to provide citizens with skills for the 21st century, by placing emphasis on the learner’s competence, character, patriotism and ability to coexist as a responsible citizen.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) led the design, development and launching of the new curriculum which is the product of the Task Force on Re-alignment of the Education Sector (Republic of Kenya, 2012; KICD, 2016).
The Task Force was mandated to review and align the education, training and research sector with the Constitution of Kenya. The focus was on the achievement of learning outcomes.
The focus of the Ministry of Education in the 2021/22 financial year is to ensure the basic facilities for a smooth transition of CBC learners to Grade 6 are in place.
Construction of 10,000 CBC classrooms in public secondary schools will be completed before the end of 2022, ready to accommodate Junior Secondary School learners transiting from Grade 6 in January 2023. This is part of the CBC School Infrastructure Development Programme.
In the first phase, 5,200 classrooms are expected to be ready by April 2022.
There are schools with excess classrooms that will serve as junior secondary schools. Contractors have been warned against delayed and poor workmanship and the Government has said all contractors will be paid promptly.
Textbooks for CBC Grade 6 learners who will sit for the national assessment in December 2022, before transiting to junior secondary school in January 2023, will be printed and distributed by April 2022.
The Ministry of Education has spent KShs 28.8 billion since 2018 to purchase textbooks for learners in public primary and secondary schools.
“The National Treasury has accordingly availed an initial Sh.4 billion to the Ministry of Education to commence the first phase of the CBC school infrastructure development programme,” said Prof. Magoha.
A multi-agency team comprising the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and other State Agencies are cooperating in the implementation of the programme.
The CBC Infrastructure Development Programme is being implemented under the Kenya economic stimulus package, using local contractors within the vicinity of the secondary schools to tap local skills and enhance economic opportunities.
By November 12, 2021, the contractors had been registered with the Deputy County Commissioners (DCCs) of the respective sub-counties at no cost and the Sub-County Implementation Committees. For prudent spending of public funds, the Government reduced the price of each classroom from KShs 1.26 million to KShs 788,000 including taxes.
Under CBC, formative assessment accounts for 60 per cent of the total marks, with Grades 4, 5 and 6 accounting for 20 per cent each and the remaining 40 per cent obtained from the final assessment in Grade 6 to establish consistency in performance.
Unlike the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) administered examinations, there will henceforth, be no policemen with guns and invigilators subjected to sleepless nights in the name of ensuring security of the exercise.
CBC has also introduced remote learning with the Government keeping learners positively engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
KICD launched the Kenya Education Cloud (KEC) to help ensure learners remote learning and safety and provided the website as www.kec.ac.ke for stakeholders seeking important information. Through the cloud, the Ministry of Education has enhanced learning via YouTube, Radio and TV.
Funding models of universities also need to be changed to support the more research-oriented. CBC is implemented all over the world in developed economies.