CBC Public Hearings Concludes As KNUT Cast Doubts on Grade Six Learner’s Preparedness
On Friday, the public hearings that the presidential working group on education reforms held about changing the competency-based curriculum were over.
The working group, constituted by President William Ruto, has thus far toured 37 counties around the nation, with the last ten counties having ended their hearings.
Stakeholders in Nakuru County have criticized the implementation of CBC, claiming that it was hurried and that schools lack the equipment and capacity to operate the system.
On the final day of public submissions to the presidential working group on education reforms, stakeholders did not hold back in their comments to the task force chaired by Prof. Raphael Munavo.
Nakuru County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo criticized former education CS Prof. George Magoha for compelling head teachers to construct competency-based curriculum classrooms, claiming that some teachers were compelled to dig into their own pockets to finance the classrooms out of fear of retaliation.
Nakuru County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said that most devolved units need a better plan of service for ECDE teachers to move up.
Mr. Kitiyo said that although the Constitution requires county governments to regulate pre-primary and early childhood education, TSC hiring would ensure that uniform standards are applied across all counties.
“For those teachers already hired by their respective county governments, I propose that TSC regularize such employment, and this should be done without any conditions,” he added.
Some pre-primary school instructors are paid as little as Sh7,500 per month, while others are paid as much as Sh43,800 per month.
The County Commissioner noticed that the lack of Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) teachers is partly due to low pay since some teachers choose better-paying jobs in non-government organizations and other fields.
Mr. Kitiyo told the task force that the disparity in remuneration between ECDE teachers must be rectified immediately.
In some places, teachers are paid the same amount regardless of their schooling. This means that degree holders can make as little as Sh12,000 per year.
“We need to do our best to ensure the ECDE sector is motivated. There is need to have a harmonized scheme of service for the teachers,” added the administrator.
He argued that allowing junior high school students to attend elementary schools will improve their social and physical development.
Mr. Kitiyo stated that parents are concerned that children, some of whom are only ten years old, will share dormitories, restrooms, and playgrounds with adolescents at distant high schools.
“We did a lot of efforts to try and provide infrastructure in terms of classrooms. This thing was rushed and in fact, some of those classrooms were delivered by force, literally..actually some principals had to dig into their pockets,” said Kitiyo.
Parents and educators have expressed skepticism about the quality of education provided to students.
Jane Kihara, a representative from Naivasha, stated that CBC is unduly costly and discriminatory, putting children from disadvantaged households at a disadvantage.
“Before we even think about CBC, what have we done for the free basic education of our children?” Kihara posed.
She also criticized obligatory parental involvement, comparing it to sending parents back to school in the nation’s capital.
“You find parents have been sent to school to do some work in embroidery for their children. Leaders and stakeholders, whose work is the teacher going to mark, is the parent’s or the student’s?” she stated.
Macharia Mbugua, secretary of the Nairobi branch of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), raised skepticism about the readiness of grade six students to appear for the national examinations and requested a postponement.
He said that the task group could suggest that, if grade 6 exams are needed, they be put off for a week so that students can study well.
Parents demanded that the government ensure the efficient use of resources and supply the necessary educational materials.
Candidates completing class 8 and going to secondary school across Kenya will leave a lot of unused classroom space, which Dr. Geoffrey Kaman, a parent, remarked would be a lot of wasted space.
He says transitioning to the same schools will avoid this wastage.
Paul Wanjohi, the treasurer of the ABET Schools Association, said the government puts a lot of money into other areas without caring about how our private and ABET schools are doing.
Professor Henry Kiplagat, vice chancellor of Kabarak University, suggested that the Ministry of Education explore allowing Grade Six students to transition to Junior Secondary Schools at their present primary schools, where space and personnel are readily available.
He said that this will stop an impending crisis in the admission of students to Form One and Junior Secondary School. If enrollment continues as planned, school infrastructure and human resources will likely be stretched too thin.
In addition, he stated that younger children were likely to be molested by older students.
“It is worth noting that in the next three academic years, primary schools will have two exit points; one at Grade Six on sitting Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA), and the other at Standard Eight after sitting the KCPE exams.”
Professor Kiplagat said that by January 2025, there would be two empty classrooms in primary schools if the two exam cohorts go to the same secondary school for both secondary and junior secondary school.
However, the Vice Chancellor informed the task force that claims that the expensive curriculum is implausible, blatantly wrong, and an unwelcome diversion from an exceptionally well-designed educational system.
According to him, no additional costs are associated with delivering curricular content to a class via the CBC system.
“The CBC educational experience is different from what parents were used to. The learning is more engaging, especially due to the sustained focus on application rather than just learning knowledge for its own sake. This implies that learners must come home to situate their day’s lessons to their everyday lives.”
Professor Kiplagat observed that the nature of homework for CBC students has shifted from theoretical problem-solving practice to more practical applications at home.
The Vice-Chancellor stated that it was crucial to reinforce CBC’s strengths by introducing accessible, affordable, and appropriate teaching tools into the curriculum.
The working group will continue to collect suggestions from the general public until November 18th.
People in the education field have asked for a new look at CBC’s content, which they think is too much for students.
Public hearings were held in Thika, Kiambu, one of the ten counties where sessions concluded.
To improve the CBC system, the task force collects people’s ideas and suggests areas that could be changed.