Education ministry should make parental engagement in CBC bearable

A teacher at Shauri Yako Primary school in Homa Bay town teaches grade four pupils Agriculture on January 10, 2020. [James Omoro, Standard]

Parents, directly and indirectly have raised a hue and cry over how the parental/guardian component in the Competency-Based Curriculum is being managed by teachers. Being a major cog in the wheel of the implementation process, it’s vital for the policy-makers to lend them an ear and address the issue. Otherwise the implementation process could hit a brick wall.

The outcry gives us a picture of teachers who have not understood the philosophical underpinnings of the whole concept of parental/guardian empowerment and engagement in the curriculum. This boils down to poor re-tooling of teachers. It’s like we got the curriculum design and development right but slipped in its implementation. From the so called “national piloting” of the Early Years to now parental empowerment and engagement and to some extent community service learning, which is another critical aspect of the CBC, what we are being treated to is a curriculum implementation that is unfocused, confused, half-baked and colourless.

We have to remember that in change and management of change, curriculum implementation is a critical cog in the whole wheel of the development and implementation process. Teachers and field officers must get everything right. Re-tooling of teachers should be always accompanied by piloting of the new curriculum.

It is incumbent upon policy-makers to see parents and guardians as part of the implementers of the CBC; they should be empowered. While parents/guardians grope in the dark, we make missteps in our journey towards an airtight implementation process. This does not augur well for the good life of the CBC. If teachers were well re-tooled in the CBC, parents would not be crying foul. As an expert, I want to raise the following issues with the implementation of the parental empowerment and engagement component in the new curriculum.

First, is that teachers have misinterpreted the philosophy of this component. From the cries of the parents, it’s like the teachers have mistaken the aspect to be synonymous with homework. The two, although related, are diametrically different in orientation. The learner can do homework without engagement of the parent or guardian while the parental/guardian activity which informs parental/guardian facilitation demands parental/guardian in-put.

Second, is that the teacher(s) and the parents/guardians should hold a conference so that the two parties have a clear picture of what is expected of them. Such a conference should actually have been preceded by one organised by the policymakers with the parents/guardians on what is expected of them in as far as parental/guardian engagement in the CBC is concerned. 

Third, there is need for a manual for parents/guardians on what constitutes their empowerment and engagement in the CBC. This should be done by the policymakers. Similarly, publishers should have been roped in to come up with handbooks for parents/guardians.

There is no doubt that digital literacy is a major plank of the CBC. However, it is time the hype of digitisation in enhancing learning was reduced and these resources contextualised like other instructional resources with equally well or even better outcomes. We need to re-tool the teacher of the 21st century to give improvisation a vanguard position.

Finally, it is time we made monitoring and evaluation of the CBC a continuing and in-built process. Allow the implementers and other stakeholders to poke holes in both the design and implementation of the curriculum and where some of the views are relevant, use them to improve CBC.

The place to begin is on teacher re-tooling. This remains a major chink in the implementation of the good curriculum.

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