Amina’s silence piles confusion over fate of new school curriculum

Education Cs Amina Mohamed arrives at NYayo Stadium for Jamhuri day celebrations on 12/12/18-[Photo: Beverlyne Musili,Standard]

A national steering committee meeting on the new curriculum scheduled for today has been postponed.

"A new date will be communicated to you later. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused," reads an email from Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

And speaking during the Kenya National Union of Teachers' annual general meeting yesterday, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed declined to explain the fate of the new curriculum.

Amina avoided any reference to the subject as she addressed the meeting held at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi. She also declined to respond to direct questions by journalists. Her action stoked fears that the Government could have backed down on the new system, which had been piloted in select schools this year and was to be rolled out nationwide next year.

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"I won't comment about that," Amina told journalists when asked about the fate of the new curriculum.

"I will make a statement on Monday. You heard what I said yesterday, go with it," she said after further prodding.

When asked whether the new system that was to replace the 8-4-4 system had been put on hold, she replied: "No comment."

At the heart of the dispute is the fate of 235 schools where piloting for Grade Three was done this year and the pupils are expected to join Grade Four next year.

Private schools demanded that Amina explains what will happen to the children from Grade One to Three who studied the new curriculum for a year.

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Core books

Representatives of private schools accused Amina of sabotaging the new system, claiming since she took over at the ministry, she had not convened routine meetings with stakeholders to assess progress in implementation.  

Parents are anxious to know the fate of their children’s education when schools open next year for first term.

Sources in Government yesterday hinted that the Ministry of Education was to give direction on distribution of books to schools. Core books for Grade One to Three have already been prepared and are ready for distribution. Each pupil was expected to get a textbook for Mathematics, English and Kiswahili.

It was not immediately clear whether the ministry would have ordered distribution of books in other learning areas.

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Parents yesterday said that they are confused whether to go ahead and purchase the books. 

“What are we supposed to do now? Should we buy books or we should wait for the ministry directive,” said a patent in Nairobi.

A number of books have been recommended for the various subjects taught in early years education.

And parents are expected to purchase the books to supplement the resources provided by the Government.

The most affected, however, are parents in private schools whose children were taken through full implementation of the CBC.

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Kenya Private Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndoro said all private schools from Grade One to Three fully rolled out the CBC.

 “We had been waiting for the curriculum designs for Grade Four but up to now we were yet to be given. But now that the whole thing has collapsed, we must be told what next,” said Mr Ndoro.

This means that all Grade Three pupils in private schools who were taught new curriculum will revert to 8-4-4 instruction method.

“This must not happen because these children will have lost a whole year without 8-4-4 instruction. Will they repeat Grade Three?” a parent in a city private school asked.

But even as confusion continued to mar the roll out plan, Government officials yesterday questioned the basis Amina used to halt the rollout.

It emerged the external assessment report that should have informed the implementation schedule has not been released.

The team led by former Moi University Vice Chancellor Laban Ayiro is yet to release its findings and recommendations.

It, however, emerged that the preliminary report indicated that teachers were still not well prepared for the national rollout.

The initial report also finds that the curriculum policy has not been put in place.

The report has not been officially handed over to Amina and education stakeholders yesterday questioned the basis of the decision arrived at by the CS.

Knut yesterday hailed the decision to hold implementation of the new curriculum.

Bold decision

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion praised Amina for making the bold decision to hold implementation of the curriculum.

“What can work must work. And what cannot work will not work,” said Sossion in reference to the implementation of the new curriculum.

He said Knut will not support government-generated programmes outside constitutional provisions of public participation.

Parents and teachers, however, raised several questions on the fate of huge investments that have been injected in the project.

It emerged that World Bank had committed huge funds to TSC towards training of teachers.

More money had also been committed to KICD to prepare curriculum designs for grade four to nine.

KICDAmina MohamedGovernmentNew Education system