Massive public awareness on CBC needed

Learners at Royal Metropolis Academy, one of the five CBC Model schools in Nyamira County undertake a practical science lesson on how to profile soil.[Stanley Ongwae, Standard]

Implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum, spearheaded by the Ministry of Education, seems to be running into trouble.

The crisis of confidence with matters CBC runs across a wide spectrum of stakeholders namely parents, teachers, legislators, educational experts, the clergy, and the general public.

The fact that over the last several weeks, the ongoing curriculum reforms have dominated public debate, with Kenyans taking different positions, is testimony that there exists huge information gaps as far as this national exercise is concerned.

For starters, most Kenyans don’t seem to understand what the CBC curriculum is all about.

This is a fundamental question that needs urgent attention even before we start telling them why we need it in the first place.

Once this is addressed, it will constitute a huge milestone as the government prepares the nation for a new age in our academic institutions.

There are numerous definitions of CBC, but pundits concur that the new curriculum is where learning is based on the needs and potential of individual learners under a flexible framework and parameters that move and shift according to the learners’ demands.

Flexible programme

Therefore, CBC has the potential to prepare our children for the challenges of the future empowering them with knowledge and skills in various fields of study in a flexible educational programme tailored to each student.

The best analogy to explain CBC is when you go for a driving test. You must practically drive a vehicle for you to get a licence.

Some people will acquire the competency to drive earlier than others. But ultimately, many will pass the test albeit at different times.  
As the CBC implementation gathers pace, many Kenyans have been asking themselves: how is it different from 8-4-4?

Before I attempt to answer this question, it is important to observe that the 8-4-4 system has roundly been criticised as having robbed our young people of so much potential.

In my view, the new curriculum is tailored to address what the 8-4-4 system did not.

The differences between these two approaches is that there is a change of emphasis from the traditional chalk-and-talk teaching to focusing on the learner.

In CBC, most learning happens in groups and not just memorising facts which the 8-4-4 system is famous for. CBC focuses on developing competencies among our children and making them understand the core values and important issues that shape their thinking and orientation in a pragmatic manner.

This is important if we have to build a sustainable national character and ethos in our children. 

Common enemies

One of the common enemies of man, especially in Africa, has been youth unemployment.

Research has shown that nations that have successfully conquered unemployment and poverty are those that utilise the ingenuity and resilience of their populace to find homegrown solutions to their problems.

With proper implementation of CBC, it might finally give us the much-awaited answer to the question as to when Kenya, and Africa, will start to use its resourcefulness and move on the path to socio-economic success as envisioned in Vision 2030. 
So how do we move from here?

Now that the CBC train has left the station, the Ministry of Education and other relevant government agencies should commence a massive nationwide multimedia public awareness campaign to address the concerns Kenyans have raised.

The concerns are very valid and with proper information and facts, we will begin to knock down the mental resistance barriers that Kenyans are developing.

Let us nip this in the bud by mounting a well-resourced comprehensive national awareness drive encompassing apt messaging, grassroots outreach, media relations and government affairs involving all the stakeholders including learners and teachers themselves.

The concerns we are witnessing among Kenyans are better understood as a national conversation on the future of our children.

Great ideas are born when Kenyans come together. Let us secure our children’s hopes and dreams by education the nation on CBC.

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