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President's intervention on CBC timely but should be professional

Teacher Virginia Wangui takes pupils through CBC based-assessment at City Primary School on September 27, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) has been dogged by a myriad of teething problems.

Some of these would have been avoided if those tasked with its implementation had listened to the plethora of expert views in the public domain. Others, of course, were unavoidable and are normal in any curriculum implementation venture. Put together, these challenges demand urgent attention.

This is the context in which we should put to task the president's promise to institute a task force to comb through the implementation of CBC to make it sound and less burdensome to sections of stakeholders.

The task force should set out to improve the implementation of the curriculum and not to throw the baby with the bathwater. Our country really yearns for a curriculum that will prepare our youth for learning and the world of work.

This is what CBC engenders to achieve. Evidence of this is present across its products in the two curriculum levels in our school system. We should, thus, not discard it because of the challenges bedevilling it currently. Let’s find a way to ameliorate them.

Curriculum implementation is never a walk in the park. It requires sobriety, tact, patience and high level of expertise. At least for once, we have a government that is ready to lend its ear to this.

Being an innovation, policymakers should have scaled up communication and engagement with all the stakeholders. This was and still is being done, albeit on an unsatisfactory scale. They should have also been alive to the fact that naturally people were bound to resist the change. This should have made them, besides coming up with adequate measures to address the issue, to engage the major stakeholders adequately to prepare them for the innovation. Public participation should be in-built in the entire course of the implementation process.

Unfortunately, this has been done lackadaisically. Most of the challenges facing the CBC implementation would have not occurred if piloting was done in the manner required in curriculum implementation. Ours was a mockery of the piloting process. Had we zealously adhered to the rules, parents and teachers would not be pouring cold water on the implementation process today.

The truth is that design and development of the CBC is beyond reproach. We have a sound curriculum. The problem has been re-tooling of teachers. This, interestingly, was mandated to the Teachers Service Commission (CBC), which later subcontracted some universities to undertake the exercise. The six-million-dollar question is, does TSC and the three universities have the wherewithal to undertake the exercise?

The worst has been parental/guardian involvement in CBC. Is their participation adequately catered for in the implementation process? A major complaint from this quarter of stakeholders is the high cost of the curriculum. This need not be the case if proper teacher re-tooling is made. Creativity, which is one of the core competencies of the curriculum, if passed well to teachers, should see them improvise and pass the same to parents and guardians, hence greatly lower the cost of parental/guardian engagement in the learner’s work.

Public participation, which was done before the commencement of the curriculum, seems not to have achieved the desired effect. Otherwise, we would not be having the hue and cry from parents/guardians and to some extent, teachers on the implementation of CBC.

This should be re-visited and this is why we should support the government efforts at improving the implementation process. Albert Einstein once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." Let’s bring this to curriculum implementation and do the right thing by supporting the government in improving our curriculum.