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Education Experts Faults CBC Implementation System

Education Experts Faults CBC Implementation System

The Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) is shrouded in even more confusion, as stakeholders appear to be groping in the dark.

The story appears to be the same at the Ministry of Education, where Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha appears to be reading from different scripts with his technocrats to teachers, parents, and students: Complete lack of preparation.

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

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

Indimuli goes on to say that schools will need extensive preparation in terms of infrastructure, teacher training, and the development of teaching and learning content.

Educationists are now warning that the much-touted system, which was expected to revolutionize the educational sector, may fail if the government does not act quickly to address the issues raised.

“Rain began beating us from the manner in which the whole thing of CBC was conceptualised. We did not give ourselves ample time to think and research the new system. That is why the implementation seems to be haphazard,” says Dr Evelyn Jepkemei, an education policy expert.

According to Jepkemei, CBC faces challenges such as inadequate learning facilities, a lack of adequate teacher training, a shortage of teachers, a lack of adequate teaching and learning materials, ignorance, and a lack of cooperation from parents, whose role in the overall system remains unclear.

Last week, the country was treated to a circus over the implementation of CBC, as Magoha contradicted his technocrats on several policy issues, revealing the system’s ongoing confusion.

Senior officials, including Government Spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna and a senior official in the Directorate of Secondary Education Lawrence Karuntini, started the storm by claiming that learners who will transition to Junior Secondary School under CBC next year will attend day schools.

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

 “Our focus is that this should be a day rather than a boarding school. The transition from Grade Six to Seven will be in such a way that students transit to schools that are nearby,” Karuntini said.

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

A day later, Magoha was in the news for rebuking his officers and insisting that CBC offer Junior Secondary School in both boarding and day secondary schools.

“All the existing boarding and day secondary schools will admit learners transiting from Grade Six to Grade Seven under CBC based on guidelines to be provided by the ministry,” Magoha stated.

Although the government has insisted that JSS would be housed in secondary schools, with some primary schools with sufficient capacity hosting some, a group of primary school principals has been pushing for Grades Seven and Eight to be housed in lower school levels.

However, the primary school principals’ push appears to have come to naught after the Teachers Service Commission imposed a condition on primary school principals’ ability to teach in secondary schools. 

TSC has stated that in order to teach in a secondary school, one must have a mean grade of C plus in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination.

Education Experts Faults CBC Implementation System
Education Experts Faults CBC Implementation System

Aside from learner placement, the government has remained silent on the modalities and criteria by which learners would be placed in JSS.

“When we say that we have abolished the ranking system and then have the 100 per cent transition, what system do we have in place to determine which learner would join a particular school?” Jonathan Wesaya, an expert on public policy quips.

Wesaya claims that if the country has been unable to absorb approximately one million cohorts from Class Eight to Form One at any one time with a 100% transition, questions about how it will handle two transitions of over 2.5 million learners at the same time remain unanswered.

The government, on the other hand, has continued to downplay teachers’ and parents’ concerns about the apparent confusion over the criterion to be used in the placement of learners into JSS.

Emerging difficulties

The Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI), a consortium of 70 education organizations, is now warning the government that time is running out and that it must act quickly to address CBC implementation challenges.

RELI Country Lead Samuel Otieno stated that the government must act quickly to address emerging challenges or risk being caught off guard.

This, he said, would jeopardize the education of children transitioning to JSS because the situation is expected to be more than the norm.

Despite the ministry’s efforts to construct classrooms, he said the group is concerned that with only six months until the transition, even the classrooms being built do not appear to be sufficient to accommodate the double intake of students.


The last batch of Class Eight students will enter Form One next year, and the first batch of Grade Six students will enter junior secondary school.

Though the government appears to be building approximately 10,000 classrooms across the country, experts estimate that at least 100,000 classrooms are required for “conducive learning.”

Education Experts Faults CBC Implementation System



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