Teachers have threatened legal action or to resort to industrial action if the Government does not shelf proposals contained in the new school curriculum.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Wednesday demanded that the planned rollout of the new curriculum - set for January - be deferred to pave the way for ‘intensive and extensive’ consultations.
Teachers dismissed the new proposals as impractical, draconian, and unconstitutional, adding that they were arrived at unilaterally.
“Some of the proposals in the new curriculum, like the removal of summative exams, have been tried in the USA, Britain, Rwanda, and Uganda and have failed,” said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
The nominated MP, who addressed school head teachers at Sheikh Zayed Children Welfare Centre in Mombasa, claimed the process was being driven by the World Bank and not Kenyans.
“Piloting (of the curriculum) should be for two years. International valuers should also be invited to do the evaluation of the piloting before it is implemented,” Mr Sossion said.
Although the union and the head teachers said they were not opposed to the review of the curriculum, they insisted that it should be refined and not hurried. The union said teaching materials for the new curriculum had not been tested and teachers had yet to be trained, making it impractical to implement the new curriculum in January.
The teachers said haphazard implementation of the 2-6-3-3 system of education could erode the gains of the current 8-4-4 system.
“The Government must take into consideration the views of critics to make it better,” said Kenya Primary Schools Head teachers Association National Chairman Shem Ndolo.
But Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Chief Executive Officer Julius Jwan defended the process, saying the review had taken 14 years and that its implementation had been staggered to 2020. He added that there was enough time to improve the system.
He said a lot of consultations had been done to ensure the new curriculum fills the knowledge gaps identified through a needs assessment which recommended changes to the 8-4-4 system.
“For the past three years, we have been working with Kenyans and experts and consulting with various interest groups,” Dr Jwan said, adding that the process was devoid of political interference.
He said teachers would be trained this month ahead of the rollout of the early years education - pre-primary one and two and grade one to grade three - to ensure the ideas remain fresh in teachers’ minds. The induction of teachers, which started with master of trainers, will go up to December 23.
Knut officials also accused Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i of unilaterally coming up with regulations.