Players Applaud CBC, Say It Meets Needs of People With Disabilities (PWD)
Persons with Disabilities (PWD) have characterized the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) as progressive, claiming that it is a step in the right direction away from the ever-competitive system.
Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Global, Kenya Country Representative, Edwin Osundwa, believes that CBC is beneficial because it not only eliminates or limits competition for grades but also emphasizes the importance of nurturing potential, which is essential for all students.
He also stated that the CBC will change the language of PWD because the previous education system was discriminatory and unsatisfactory in a number of areas.
“Many parents of children with disabilities I have interacted with think CBC is a good thing because it stops competition for grades and emphasises tapping individual potential,” said Osundwa.
According to statistics, at least 10% of Kenya’s population is disabled, and the poverty rate for PWDs is around 40%.
“Special Needs Education has as its pillar; the critical issue of nurturing the learners’ potential. We do not care whether that potential can at least move from say a child not being able to count to getting some numeracy skill. The learners should just be able do something simple out of training,” he added.
He stated that the country is gradually improving its education system; for example, the government has invested in teacher training, infrastructure, and curriculum to meet the diverse needs of each learner, including those with disabilities.
Osundwa also stated that education is a tool for change and that after graduating from school, all people, including those with disabilities, should have a role to play in society to apply their skills.
He stated that society must be prepared to admit PWD so that they can put their skills learned over the years, particularly in school, to use.
One key pillar of the CBC reforms according to him is the need to nurture every learner’s potential which the education system must tap into and nurture.
He also emphasized the importance of preparing PWD to transition from the formal education system to the world of work, stating that there is still a significant gap.
“There is still a big gap in preparing the PWD to transit from the formal education system to the world of work because policies and environment they need to practice still have barriers. Employers are saying they want skilled people, but do not adjust the environment sometimes to accommodate PWD to apply their skills,” he explained.
“That is the sad scenario around education, but CBC is a good focus because it aims at nurturing the potential of all learners and does not seem to compare only the academic side learners,” he added.
According to the task force report on curriculum reforms implementation, Special Needs Education (SNE) is an essential component of CBC, particularly in light of the mission of developing the potential of all learners, including the gifted and talented.
The task force acknowledged that the SNE sub-sector has grown over time, but there are still gaps that must be filled in order for the CBC reforms to be implemented effectively.
They include poor functional assessments, a lack of accurate data on SNE learners across the country, a poor transition from primary to secondary school, particularly for the deaf, and a lack of effective programs for gifted and talented students.
The task force recommends that the Ministry of Education strengthen the capacity of the Kenya Institute of Special Education’s National Psycho-Education, Assessment, and Research Centre (KISE).
This will be useful in assessing all areas of special needs, as well as serving as the national coordination centre for assessments conducted at the country’s Educational Assessment and Resource Centres (EARCs).
According to the CBC task force report, the assessment will be determined by the nature and severity of the disability and special needs.
“For learners with the ability to follow the regular curriculum, KNEC will adapt the assessment items while also providing appropriate time during assessment administration for learners with disabilities,” says the report.
KNEC will develop a policy for various types of assessments that document stage-based abilities and fast-tracking competencies for those who are unable to follow the regular curriculum.
Prof George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary for Education, called for the establishment of a data centre for students with special needs in November of last year.
The CS stated that obtaining data for special needs and disability in the country has been difficult, despite the fact that it is critical for planning and resource allocation.
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Magoha has since urged the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) to establish the country’s planned special needs data centre.
“I am aware that there are challenges in regard to special needs and disability data in this country. The Ministry will support the establishment of a data centre to enhance the availability of accurate and reliable data critical for planning and resource allocation,” said the CS.
He stated that KISE is in charge of the EARC, which is used as a resource by field officers and interested partners.