Implementation of the new curriculum should be halted in Grade Three due to inadequate teacher training and insufficient learning materials, according to a team of evaluators.
In their report, independent external assessors only recommended a rollout in Grade One and Grade Two.
The team of reviewers, led by former Moi University Vice Chancellor Laban Ayiro, cited numerous other challenges, including lack of books, when discouraging the Government from pushing through with the new syllabus.
This means the country will continue with 8-4-4, which the Ministry of Education was planning to replace with the 2-6-3-3 system.
Suspension of the rollout in Grade Three, a class which had been piloted in select schools, highlights the crisis facing the attempt to phase out the 8-4-4 system of education. Had the rollout of Grade Three been successful, it was widely expected to be implemented nationwide next year.
Insiders yesterday said these challenges could have informed the statement by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed that suggested suspension of the entire 2-6-3-3 education system.
Although Amina is expected to formally receive the detailed report prepared by Prof Ayiro on Monday, sources said she had been briefed on its contents.
Amina confirmed on Wednesday this week that she would make a comprehensive statement on implementation of the new curriculum on Monday next week.
Sources in the external evaluation team revealed to The Standard the contents of their preliminary report.
It was, however, not immediately clear whether the preliminary findings will mirror the final report the CS will receive.
Alarm bells that the new system was running into headwinds were raised.
Mid this year, publishers cautioned that they had not been given curriculum designs for Grade Four, a signal that implementation of the new system could hit a snag. However, authorities brushed the concern aside.
But the problem soon caught up with the system upon realisation pupils in Grade Two had completed their academic year and were, next year, expected to progress to Grade Three – a level which had only been tested in select schools and with limited trained teachers.
The sudden graduation of pupils from Grade Two to Grade Three became untenable because of lack of enough books, teachers and supporting equipment.
It is this crisis that Ayiro's team attempted to avert by proposing all pupils joining Grade Three should revert to 8-4-4.
But it would appear Amina, who succeeded Fred Matiang'i, under whose tenure preparations for the new system were carried out, has opted to cancel implementation altogether and probably get back to the drawing board.
The decision has been informed by the reality of inadequate preparations. It has also come with huge costs on publishers, who are stuck with new supplies and parents, some of whom had already bought new books in readiness for the new system of education.
Private schools too have suffered after heavily investing in the new system yet do not benefit from public funds.
But, according to the preliminary report, reviewers found that Kenyans have appreciated the new curriculum and want it rolled out nationally.
A total of 170,000 teachers covering basic education level had already been trained.
The report however recommends the government provides all books from grade one to grade two.
The document says the Government already provided mathematics, English and Kiswahili books to schools during the national piloting and wants is to issue the remaining books.
This means the Government will provide books for religious activities, nutrition and health activities and environmental activities.
The report finds that the books are not expensive because they are basically activity books.
The report further recommends that the Government sets aside some money, specifically for teacher training and infrastructural improvement.
It found that 70 per cent of learners go to county and sub-county schools yet a lot of infrastructural improvements are done in national schools and extra county schools.
The report recommends that more money be allocated to sub-county and county schools.
This is in line with another recommendation that lower secondary title, under new curriculum, be struck off and expanded to be part of Grade one to Nine.
The report proposes that this level of learning be made compulsory day schooling with only schools with special conditions allowed boarding facilities to allow parents spend time with their children.
The report analysed economics of education and found that the day school programme will make education cheaper as parents will not pay boarding fees.