Inclusion of anti-doping lessons in new school curriculum good move

Kenya has adopted two curriculum changes since independence. The first was in 1985 when it changed from the 7-4-2-3 system to 8-4-4. The first model comprised of 7 years of primary education, 4 years of lower secondary, 2 years of upper secondary (form 5-6) and 3 years for a university course. The second is the one recently introduced by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), 2-6-3-3-3.

The new arrangement has basic education organised in three levels: Early Years, Middle School Education, and Senior School. It emphasises formative years of learning where learners will spend 2 years in lower primary, 6 years in upper primary, 3 years in junior secondary (grade 7,8,9) 3 years in senior secondary (grade 10,11,12) and 3 years in university.

Experts are of the view that it will enable learners to develop beyond academics and focus on how best they can use their specific talents to make a living. In the new curriculum, physical and health education is among the subjects taught in upper primary. It is intended that at the senior secondary level (ages 15-17) learners will focus on three areas of specialisation depending on their skills, talents and interests. One of these areas is arts and sports science.

Learners engage

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In the basic education model for the new curriculum, the vision of basic education curriculum reforms is to enable every Kenyan to become an engaged, empowered and ethical citizen. Doping, being a moral issue, is well taken care of under the physical and health education aspect of the new curriculum. It is anticipated that the values promoting the spirit of sport will be inculcated through the subject as learners engage in the practical lesson through a wide array of games and sporting activities.

Teachers are expected to ensure that at the end of every activity during this subject, learners can identify and articulate the meaning of the value(s) acquired and this will, in turn, positively impact them ethically. The net effect is that morally upright students who will not be easily influenced to engage in ethically wrong activities such as doping will be produced. In the long run, those who will pursue sports will find it easy to comprehend more technical details associated with anti-doping in the course of their professional development.

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) has adopted a preventive strategy against doping that targets learners between 10 and 14 years. It is referred to as values-based education (VBE) and is designed to inculcate values that promote the spirit of sport among the learners.

The ‘spirit of sport’ is an intrinsic value which is a celebration of the human body, spirit and mind. Doping thus negates this spirit as it is ethically wrong since it is a form of cheating.

All standards

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The 11 core values characterising the spirit of sport as contained in the world Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) teacher’s toolkit include: ethics, fair play and honesty, health, excellence in performance, character and education, fun and Joy, teamwork, dedication and commitment, respect for rules and laws, respect for self and other participants, courage and community and solidarity.

ADAK, together with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), recently partnered on an endeavour that will eventually see the development of an anti-doping curriculum for schools. Currently, the two institutions are in the process of developing a values-based teachers’ resource book which will be used by primary school teachers tending to learners in Grade 3.

This is a positive development in so far as the fight against doping in Kenya is concerned. Once the ADAK-KICD partnership finally achieves its intended goal, Kenya will be one of the few countries in the world to have put in place an anti-doping curriculum. So, by all standards, the effort is laudable just as it is welcome in so far as the promotion of clean sport in Kenya is concerned.

Studies have shown that despite being confined to sports, there is significant use of prohibited substances for recreational purposes among those not actively engaged in competitive sport.

With the introduction of the new curriculum and with ethics playing an integral part of this learning experience, it is expected that the effort to impart values promoting the spirit of sport among learners in upper primary school will go along way in supplementing the fight against doping.

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Mr Mwangi is a Communication Specialist

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New Education CurriculumCBCAnti-Doping Agency of KenyaADAK