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Confusion reigns in schools as new education system kicks in

By Standard Team | Published Thu, January 18th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 17th 2018 at 21:59 GMT +3
Westlands Primary School Class One pupils in Nairobi interact with learning tablets on Monday. The Ministry of Education has announced plans to introduce the digital learning curriculum in schools. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Dozens of schools across the country are yet to receive books and other learning materials for the new curriculum.

A spot check by The Standard across the country revealed that many schools had resorted to using books under the 8-4-4 curriculum.

Despite training offered to teachers in 2017, many interviewed said they lacked the materials required to kick-start the 2-6-6-3-3 system of education.

“Our teachers were trained and we are well prepared. We have, however, received no books from the ministry and that has become a challenge for us,” said Damaris Ochieng’, the head teacher of St Mary’s Girls School in Nakuru County.

The teachers, who have no course books with which to teach, are using sample books provided during the training.

“We have two books, ‘Tusome’ and ‘Pride’. The books were given as samples during the training and that is what our teachers are using,” said James Kabigu of Mburugishua Primary School.

Parents are now calling on the Government to ensure that materials are distributed to ease learning.

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“The new curriculum looks promising but the Government must make it work before it is too late. Our children should adapt to the changes soon,” said Mary Muthoni, a parent.

Take longer

Nakuru County Education Director Isaac Atebe said the distribution of learning materials could take longer than expected.

“The ministry is working to ensure that the materials are distributed to all schools. Teachers will have to use the sample books before other books are provided,” said Mr Atebe.

Teachers from rural schools in the North Rift claim they have not been briefed about the new curriculum.

Stephen Misoi, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) executive secretary for Nandi County, said piloting was currently going on in selected schools but added confusion was still rife in most institutions due to lack of learning materials and a syllabus.

Mr Misoi however said teachers were happy with the decision to start piloting.

“Piloting should be effectively carried out in rural areas and people’s views listened to. When the new system was proposed and piloting done, the outcome was given to teachers and parents,” he said.

Josephat Serem, the Knut Nandi North executive secretary, said teachers were still confused because of the absence of learning materials for the new curriculum.

“The ministry has not distributed books and other materials while parents have been told not to pay anything to the schools. Teachers are confused and don’t know what to do,” said Mr Serem, who also confirmed that piloting was going on in some schools.

“We don’t know what it is all about. Nobody, including the teachers, can effectively explain to us what the new curriculum means and how it will be implemented,” said Musa Zakayo, a parent from Malava sub-county.

In Kisumu County, a number of schools had teachers using the old syllabus as some relied on materials given to school heads during the December training as their only guides.

“Teachers need the syllabus for guidance on the objectives of the various topics. We can teach without textbooks but we need the guidance of the syllabus,” said the head of a primary school who sought anonymity.

Posted guidelines

He said the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development had posted guidelines for teachers to download and print, but this was expensive.

At Shady Garden Academy, school head Jacob Wanyama said although private schools had been well groomed ahead of the new curriculum roll-out, delays owing to lack of resources was holding them back.

At the coast, most parents said the recommended books were not available in bookshops.

In Embu, Tenri Primary School principal James Kariuki said whereas the Government conducted a four-day training on the new curriculum for teachers, private schools were still in the dark on the next move.

In Laikipia County, implementation of the new curriculum has begun in some schools.

At Nanyuki Primary School, teachers in the lower classes have started using the teaching techniques as illustrated in the 2-6-6-3 curriculum.

Eunice Maina, a Grade Two (formerly called Class Two) teacher, said the teaching methods illustrated in the new curriculum were working for pupils in lower primary.

Leads Group of Schools Director Elizabeth Nafula praised the Government for scrapping the 8-8-4 system.

[Report by Sarah Otieno, Titus Too, John Shilitsa, Dalton Nyabundi, Joseph Muchiri, Jacinta Mutura and Mkamburi Mwawasi]

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