KNUT report pours cold water on new curriculum, wants it suspended

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion (right) displays a copy of a report on the implementation of a new curriculum. With him is union Chairman Wycliffe Omuchayi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Government should stop further implementation of the new curriculum until it can prove that it is much better than 8-4-4, a new report has recommended.

The report by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) pours cold water on the much hyped roll-out and effectiveness of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), describing it as “developed by a foreign NGO” and “hurriedly done".

“Kenya is not a failing state to implement a curriculum that is developed by a foreign NGO,” the report partly read adding teachers were ill-prepared, poorly trained and could not deliver the CBC.

"Unfortunately, the impact of education is sub-Suharan African countries has been minimised since African countries have often been pressurised to adopt unrealistic reforms by a small number of nameless and faceless experts working in international organisations such as UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, IMF, World Bank who have a hidden agenda and normally exert their influence indirectly behind the scenes."

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Now, Knut wants implementation in grade four halted until Government evaluates CBC's effect on learners during the piloting phase and makes its findings public.

The curriculum, also known as 2-6-6-3, was rolled out at the beginning of this year in pre-primary one and two, grades one, two and three with grade four being targeted for 2020 following confusion on the readiness of teachers and availability of resources.

“Since no research was done to justify the change from Outcomes Based Curriculum to CBC framework, education stakeholders should commission summative evaluation of the pilot phase of CBC to determine its effect on learners,” says the report dubbed Teachers Preparedness for the Implementation of the Competence Based Curriculum in Pre-Primary and Lower Primary Grades in Kenya.

“This means that CBC should not be implemented in Grade Four before the result of summative evaluation show that it is a better approach than Outcomes Based Approach,” adds the 98-page report.

The report says that after the evaluation, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in cooperation with curriculum experts and academics should undertake a comprehensive revision of CBC for pre-primary and Grades One, Two and Three.

"The Ministry of Education should initiate a mechanism for systematic in-service and pre-service training of teachers on the CBC," it said.

Part of failure of the CBC, according to the report, is the unpreparedness and poor training of teachers.

CBC’s implementation would "compromise" the education of Kenyan children and it was time to tell Kenyans and parents the truth, Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said during the release of the report yesterday.

Citing the report, he said teachers could not effectively deliver the new curriculum.

“The education of your children will be compromised, we can’t cheat you,” the nominated MP said. “However much we get poetic with this curriculum, teachers haven’t been adequately trained,” he added.

The report says that there is lack of teacher’s with adequate knowledge, skills on CBC and teaching approaches.

 “Trainers, facilitators and teachers are still incompetent in the delivery of the competence based approach to teachers and learners,” reads the report.

The report also showed that teachers were "generally negative" about CBC roll out and training sessions.

Sossion described the CBC as “elitist” and warned against “experimentation” of a curriculum that had failed in countries such as South Africa and Malaysia.

“We are not a country of experimentation, what doesn’t work doesn’t work and what works works,” he said.

"We should never experiment on the children of this country," he added.

Sossion, however, said teachers were not opposed to the curriculum but were only asking to be properly trained.

He was worried that there was no commission to aid implementation of the new curriculum.

The report, done over a period of two months, sampled 1,455 teachers of pre-primary and lower primary in 37 counties.

Some 305 head teachers were sampled from 405 public, private and special education schools in Kenya.

Sossion added that the curriculum was not “homegrown” but was instead backed by “foreign interests” including donor-funded NGOs who’s only intention was profit.

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Kenya Institute of Curriculum DevelopmentCompetency Based CurriculumKnut