CBC Implementation Takes A New Direction As Experts Faults The system

The Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) is engulfed in even more ambiguity, with stakeholders groping in the dark.

At the Ministry of Education, the story appears to be the same, with Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha and his technocrats reading from various scripts to teachers, parents, and students: There was no preparation at all.

Leaders of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance have vowed to abolish CBC and return to the 8-4-4 system, a decision that Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development chief executive Prof Charles Ong’ondo believes will be costly in a variety of ways.

Kahi Indimuli, the chairman of the Kenya Secondary Schools Head Teachers Association, has also issued a warning, predicting that secondary school overcrowding could reach crisis proportions if infrastructure is not expanded by next year.

Indimuli continues by stating that schools will require considerable infrastructure, teacher training, and the development of teaching and learning content.

Educationists are now warning that if the government does not act fast to address the flaws revealed, the much-touted system, which was meant to revolutionize the educational sector, may fail.

“Rain began to fall on us as a result of the way CBC was conceived. We did not allow enough time to consider and research the new system. That is why the execution appears to be haphazard,” says education policy specialist Dr Evelyn Jepkemei.

Inadequate learning facilities, a lack of proper teacher training, a shortage of teachers, a lack of adequate teaching and learning materials, ignorance, and a lack of collaboration from parents, whose role in the whole system remains unclear, according to Jepkemei.

The country was exposed to a circus last week when Magoha contradicted his technocrats on key policy matters, demonstrating the system’s continued uncertainty.

Senior officials, notably Government Spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna and a senior official in the Directorate of Secondary Education Lawrence Karuntini, sparked outrage by declaring that children transitioning to Junior Secondary School under the CBC will attend day schools next year.

Furthermore, once CBC is implemented in secondary schools in January, Karuntini believes that school categorization as national, extra-county, county, or sub-county will no longer apply at Junior Secondary.

“We believe this should be a day school rather than a residential school.” Students will move from Grade Six to Grade Seven in such a way that they will attend neighbouring schools,” Karuntini stated.

Students entering Grade Seven next year will be taught by secondary school teachers, according to Ruth Mugambi, a technical advisor to the Principal Secretary and deputy director at the State Department for Curriculum Reforms.

Magoha was in the press the next day for reprimanding his officers and demanding that CBC provide Junior Secondary School in both boarding and day secondary schools.

“All existing boarding and day secondary schools will accept pupils transitioning from Grade Six to Grade Seven under CBC depending on ministry rules,” Magoha said.

Although the government has insisted that JSS be placed in secondary schools, certain primary schools with appropriate capacity have been pressing for Grades Seven and Eight to be located in lower school levels.

The primary school principals’ drive appears to have failed after the Teachers Service Commission restricted primary school principals’ capacity to teach in secondary schools.

According to the TSC, a mean grade of C plus in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination is required to teach in a secondary school.

Experts in education criticize the CBC implementation system.

Experts in education criticize the CBC implementation system.

Aside from learner placement, the government has been silent on the methods and criteria that would be used to put students in JSS.

“What system do we have in place to identify which learner will enter a given school when we announce we have abolished the ranking system and then have the 100% transition?” Jonathan Wesaya, a public policy expert, makes a remark.

Wesaya believes that if the country has been unable to absorb around one million cohorts from Class Eight to Form One at a time with a 100 percent transition, it is unclear how it will handle two transitions of over 2.5 million learners at the same time.

Teachers’ and parents’ concerns about the apparent misunderstanding regarding the criterion to be used in the placement of learners into JSS have been dismissed by the government.

Emerging challenges

RELI, a consortium of 70 education organizations, is now warning the government that time is running out and that it must move fast to overcome CBC implementation issues.

The government, according to RELI Country Lead Samuel Otieno, must move promptly to address developing concerns or risk being caught off guard.

This, he claimed, would affect the education of students transferring to JSS because the circumstance would be unusual.

Despite the ministry’s attempts to build classrooms, he expressed concern that, with only six months until the transition, even the classrooms currently under construction do not appear to be sufficient to support the double intake of students.

Next year, the last class of Class Eight pupils will enter Form One, while the first class of Grade Six students will begin junior secondary school.

Despite the fact that the government appears to be creating about 10,000 classrooms across the country, experts estimate that at least 100,000 classrooms are needed for “conducive learning.”

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