Education stakeholders have begun identifying issues in the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) that they want to be addressed.
President William Ruto seeks to appoint a taskforce team to collect opinions from Kenyans before making recommendations.
During his inauguration, Dr. Ruto stated that he was aware of the robust debate around the CBC and promised that a resolution would be reached prior to the imminent transition of the first group to the new system.
Some stakeholders want the new junior secondary schools (JSS) to be housed in Secondary schools education professionals urge caution.
Recently the Ministry of Education had built classrooms in selected Secondary schools with an intention of housing the junior pupils from Primary schools. Stakeholders argue the infrastructural capacity in Primary schools is enough to host the Junior students.
The stakeholders are seeking a clear financial road map and transitional guidelines for the CBC before the big transfer from the 8-4-4 to the 2-6-6-3 education system.
In addition, stakeholders want the government to specify which fees would be paid by parents and the government.
The Kenya National Parents Association (KPA) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) advocate for the retention of junior secondary students in primary schools.
They contend that in high school, there will be overcrowded classrooms.
Due to the students’ young age, they argue that most of these students still require parental care, and exposing them to such conditions would constitute neglect.
Parents are also concerned that transferring children to the secondary wing may increase tuition costs.
Collins Oyuu, the secretary general of Knut, argues that there is no need to construct additional secondary school classrooms given the current infrastructure at the elementary school level.
“The focus should be on training and hiring more teachers. The class seven and eight classrooms will accommodate grades seven and eight,” he says.
Omboko Milemba, the national chairman of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), believes that the team should handle thorny issues such as limited teaching and learning resources, overcrowded classrooms, and dealing with low-ability students.
Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori, for his part, asserts that the task force should develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure that no ad hoc decisions are made throughout the process.
He believes curriculum modification is a high-stakes, technical, political, and delicate matter. Numerous skeptics and cynics oppose change projects.
According to him, the justification for the proposed reforms should be carefully considered and presented.
Misori added that the twin transitions in January 2023 could be challenging due to the government’s inability to accommodate the 2.5 million students transitioning to the secondary level.
Paul Wanjohi, national secretary for the Alternative Provision of Basic Education and Training (APBET), supports the retention of Grade 7 students in primary schools.
Peter Sitienei, the national chairman of the Special Schools Heads Association of Kenya, stated that promoting day schools in the junior secondary would be punished for their students.
According to Sitienei, only 38 special-needs boarding schools are dispersed throughout the country.
Regarding junior high day schools, he says they will discriminate against our students.
Additionally, Sitienei remarked that special schools are underfunded compared to conventional schools.
“Our learning materials are too expensive. We need head teachers from special schools to be included in the task force to address our plights,’’ he added.
Janet Muthoni Ouko, a former member of the County Executive Committee for Education in Nairobi, stated that the to-be-formed task team should treat the CBC issue with caution since it could undo all previous advances.
Instead of piecemeal reforms, she argues that curriculum creation and transformation should be directed by a systematic and holistic approach to ensure efficacy and sustainability.
Muthoni remarked that the time remaining until the transfer is too short and could cause parents to panic.
Muthoni explained that a significant amount of rationalization and financial resources had been poured into the system, and the majority of students in primary schools have embraced it.
Evans Mjumbe, a teacher in Nairobi, stated that textbooks are single-use for each child, and parents are required to purchase the same books for subsequent children.
He stated that the double transition is an illusion because some students are too young to reside in high schools.
Pamela Kadenge, principal of Simboyi Primary, asserts that the government must pump more cash into schools for a smooth transition.
According to Kadenge, Kenya needs sufficient finances to have the necessary infrastructure and human resources to accommodate many students.
Kadenge stated that the new approach is intended to shape students into well-rounded, time-and money-efficient people regardless of their academic background.