Shock of Sh365 billion bill to scrap 8-4-4 system

Education CS Amina Mohamed (centre), PSBelio Kipsang and other stakeholders at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD). (Jenipher Wachie, Standard)
The government requires Sh365 billion to start phasing out the 8–4–4 education system during the first four years of implementing the new curriculum.

An expert analysis of the cost implication revealed that some Sh90 billion is needed annually to roll out the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

It emerged yesterday that the huge bill would cater for preparation of teachers, recruitment of more staff and development of proper infrastructure.

The details emerged during a crisis meeting of the Multi-Sectoral National Steering Committee chaired by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed yesterday.

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The huge financial implications are part of the many findings of the National External Evaluation team, which was commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary in June.

Resource constraints

The report prepared by a team headed by former Moi University Vice Chancellor Laban Ayiro revealed that the curriculum reform did not carefully consider serious resource constraints during the planning stages of piloting.

“The cost of the initiative from PP1, PP2 up to Grade 4 will be approximately Sh365 Billion for the first four years,” reads the report.

And yesterday, Amb Amina seemed to agree with the findings when she explained that the curriculum development process did not factor in such concerns.

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“The process did not carefully consider resource constraints and was not given the necessary strategic interventions at the inception stage,” Amina said. It also emerged yesterday that a new education system will be redesigned to extend primary education by one year under a new 2-9-3-3.

Under this new system, pupils will spend nine years in primary schools which shall be compulsory day learning to allow parents spend more time with their children.

Secondary education will be reduced by one year, with students allowed to spend only three years in high school on specific pathways they choose.

Tertiary and university education will last three years.

The initial 2-6-3-3-3 provided for six years in primary schools, three years in junior secondary school and another three years in senior secondary school.

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Education stakeholders yesterday endorsed the new structure, which will no longer refer to learning levels as classes but as Grades. The details emerged after about a week of State-contrived speculation on the fate of 8-4-4.

Amina yesterday announced that the implementation of the new curriculum will continue, but shall only be delayed by one year to allow room to correct lessons learnt during the first two years of piloting. The statement calms earlier speculation that Amina would suspend the new curriculum and insist on the current 8-4-4 system.

After a series of consultative meetings with sector players, Amina said that the national roll out earlier scheduled for next month will now kick off in 2020.

This means that the whole of next year will be dedicated to another round of piloting that will now target pre-primary (PP) or nursery classes to Grade Three. “The CBC National Pilot be extended for one more year to allow alignment in implementation, particularly, intensive in-service teacher training.

The National roll-out will take place in January 2020,” Amina said.

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She announced that a secretariat to coordinate the priorities, activities, and communication and implementation infrastructure to support the CBC shall be established within the Ministry.

This announcement takes care of concerns of parents whose children participated in piloting. Parents, especially those with children in Grade Two, had sought to know the fate of their children given some had bought books.

The children, expected to be in Grade Three next year will now take part in the piloting expanded to include their year.

This will however be the third year of piloting, pointing at serious gaps that must be tightened before the national roll out.

While delaying the national roll out, Amina cited serious shortcomings and major oversights that must be corrected.

The CS’s justifications are anchored in the external assessors report that pointed at major flaws in the entire curriculum reforms process.

Amina revealed that the policy framework for the CBC was not adopted at the start of the pilot and still remains in draft form.

To this end, Amina committed to finalise the National Curriculum Policy Framework next month.

Recommendation

This follows a recommendation that a revised and streamlined CBC framework that takes into consideration special needs learners be developed.

She said that the Ministry will also present the Sessional Paper on Reforming Education and Training Sector in Kenya before Parliament in February next year.

“Once passed, it will ensure a new instructional paradigm in the Kenyan education system,” Amina said.

What is however the biggest shortcoming is the revelation that there is inadequate alignment between the CBC formulation, teacher capacity development, selection and supply of learning materials and assessment.

“This has led to inadequate coordination and ad-hoc workshops in place of teacher training, compounded by absence of relevant CBC materials,” Amina said. The external assessors report found that even though training outreach stood at approximately 65 per cent, the orientation, training and development of the teachers and follow-up support was inadequate.

“63 per cent of the teachers felt that the training was too short and therefore little impact,” reads the report.

Based on this, the report found that there was lack of understanding and inability to infuse core competencies (especially digital literacy), pertinent and contemporary issues and assessment.

Generally, according to the report, there was inconsistency in the overall understanding and implementation of the constructs and standards of the CBC.

Moving forward, the report recommends teacher capacity development for CBC be remodeled, where a special cadre of regional and county curriculum trainers are selected and trained.

Amina said the Ministry will step-up intensive teacher-training programme across the country.

“Training of tutors for Teacher Training Colleges will commence in January, 2019 and will follow a college-based teacher training model,” Amina said.

She said a dedicated Fund for teacher training in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years will be negotiated and set aside.

On books, the report found that learning support materials that are variable in quality are often unavailable and not sufficiently used in classrooms. The report finds that many of the new books are neatly stored in cupboards in many schools for accountability.

The Ministry report recommends that the production and distribution of curriculum support materials remain the responsibility of publishers who should work in liaison with Ministry officials for effective distribution and utilisation.

Competency Based Curriculum8–4–4 education systemNew CurriculumnEducation MinistryCS Amina Mohammed