The rhubarb between the Ministry of Education and the giant teacher’s union KNUT does not bode well for the implementation of the new curriculum. Both parties, like the rest of us, are in agreement that the Competency-Based Curriculum is good for the country and should have been implemented like yesterday.
The differences to an objective observer exists in form rather than substance.
Unfortunately the two sides can’t agree to sit and reason together. Each side is busy chest thumbing. The loser is the child and parent.
As a teacher educator and a curriculum expert, I know that the Ministry of Education has tried its best in the development and implementation of the new curriculum. The journey began with both the Koech and Odhiambo commissions. These commissions had adequate public participation.
A scrutiny of the views reveals great dissatisfaction with the 8-4-4 system of education.
I trust that those who worked on the CBC must have pored through these reports as they pondered over the best curriculum for the Kenyan child in the 21st century. Of course those of us who can remember will also attest to the fact that on its part, the KICD has equally engaged various stakeholders in the period preceding the roll-out of the CBC curriculum.
If this is not public participation what then is?
What is the international standard of curriculum reform? Did the government follow it? First let me take you through the answer to the first question.
In their 2017 book; Core Principles of Curriculum, Syomwene, Nyandusi and Yungungu argue that the following 12 steps should inform any curriculum development process: context analysis, strategic planning, selection and organization of content, selection and organization of learning experiences, acquisition of learning resources and facilities, preparation of implementers and other stakeholders, piloting, refining, implementation, institutionalization of the programme and monitoring and evaluation.
We are not implementation stage. KNUT has a bone to chew with the ministry about how its handled the process so far. It actually has a case that deserves reasoning out.
Unfortunately, the pell-mell manner in which it is presenting its case makes it hard to sit with it and sort out the issues. The rambunctious approach it has chosen to adopt makes it appear that it has a hidden agend.
It can’t be possible that everything the ministry has done on the new curriculum is bad and should be thrown out. In fact, those who have followed the union’s tiff with the ministry will confirm that it has poked holes in virtually everything that has been done on the CBC.
What is Knut’s interest?
So is the union better placed on matters of curriculum reform than the government which teems with a motley of experts in the area? The problem of KNUT is that it is behaving like a petulant child. One fighting egoistic war due to failure to get attention from the dad.
This is very unfortunate for a union which should be led by super ego.
We should even wonder how a labour union is purporting to be grounded in professional issues. Lack of a professional body of educators has created a void which is now confusing learners and parents alike.
I trust that the issues of curriculum Policy Framework, Sessional Paper and teacher professional development can adequately be addressed without bogging the implementation process.
It is too revolutionary to call for its suspension and even vouch for its replacement now. What is needed is a sober approach from the two protagonists.
The overriding factor
The interest of the child and society should be the overriding factor in any move made. Knu’s position is inimical to this. Mistakes may be made but this does not mean that to ameliorate them we do not pay attention to how the move will impact on the targeted audience.
What should preoccupy stakeholders now is how to make the implementation of the CBC successful. Hardline positions do not augur well for the implementation of the innovation.
The ministry should equally come down from its high pedestal and accept positive criticism and tap from these to improve the CBC. Being a human venture, there is bound to be a few mistakes made here and there.
No educational reform can course without any blemish. It is vital to listen to dissenting voices too as we implement the new curriculum.
But ultimately we should reflect he journey we have taken so far in our bid to reform our education system. Lessons learned now should inform how we handle the remaining stages in this innovation.
Dr Ndaloh is a curriculum and teaching expert at Moi university. [email protected]
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