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New CBC review team draws mixed reactions

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Schools closed on Friday for the second term break, just two days after President William Ruto promised to put up a taskforce to ratify the implementation of a Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The taskforce is to allow another round of public participation on CBC movingly on a raft of issues that need to be ironed out.

However, with just 10 days ahead of the third term, anxiety is building up in the education sector.

Questions have now emerged over the scope of the new team, given that a similar taskforce was set up and gave birth to the implementation road map.

Education stakeholders are split if Ruto will pick representatives from the 17-member Fatuma Chege-led team, whose report informed the CBC rollout.

It is also not clear what the time frame for the team will be, given that Ruto said that a report on transition issues will be addressed before the January transition.

Interviews with parents, teachers and other concerned stakeholders revealed they are concerned as to whether the taskforce will retain the scheduled Grade Six examinations due in December.

Muthoni Ouko, former Nairobi County Education and Sports Executive noted the timing is worrying since the school calendar is compressed.

‘‘We only have three months before the Grade six learner’s transit to Junior Secondary. The time frame is too short which will not make significant recommendations,’’ Ouko said.

Ouko further said that President Ruto’s announcement has thrown stakeholders into confusion.

‘‘Our teachers don’t know if they will return to prepare Grade six learners for the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment examination or they wait,’’ added Ouko.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers national Chairman, Omboko Milemba said the voice of all stakeholders should be heard.

‘‘Students are involved in the management of schools in today’s setting. We should not overlook their voices. Teachers will be meeting to harmonise their views to be considered,’’ Milemba said.

He said the taskforce comes as the country approaches the transition to Junior Secondary, which is key.

‘‘For any system of education to succeed, it must have the support of parents, teachers, the government and also the students themselves in order to develop ownership of the system,’’ he stated.

The Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers’ national chairman, Peter Sitienei has appealed to the government to ensure their welfare is taken care of.

Understand challenges

‘‘We are the people who understand the challenges the children face. We need to have headteachers from these schools to represent us in the taskforce,’’ Sitienei said.

He noted that in the previous taskforce, learners in special schools were not represented hence they find it difficult to fit into the system.

Ouko said Kenyans are keen to know the composition of the team to be incorporated.

‘‘We are keen to see the composition of this taskforce. This will inform us of the motive behind it. We are waiting to see the changes that will be recommended. This is not a political contest but professional work,’’ said Ouko.

The previous team, which included top Ministry of Education officials, the church, educationists, curriculum experts, teachers’ associations and civil society was also tasked to advise on the transition of the Grade Six cohort of CBC and Standard 7 and 8 (of 8-4-4).