The journey toward sweeping reforms in the education sector from basic education to university level under President William Ruto has started.
This is after the Head of State appointed a team of 42 members, which will be led by renowned educationist Prof Raphael Munavu, to collect views and propose radical changes that would affect the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), relook middle-level training and also suggest modifications to university education.
In six months, Kenyans will know whether CBC will remain as it is or its implementation structure would radically change.
In his inauguration speech, Ruto promised to form a task force that would facilitate public participation to streamline key issues in the implementation of CBC.
In a gazette notice released yesterday, Ruto wants the team to recommend an appropriate structure to implement the CBC. This means that the present method of rolling out the CBC under the 2-6-6-3 may change and a whole new structure proposed.
It also means that the transition method under the present implementation structure may be changed and where Junior Secondary Education classes will be domiciled may also be reviewed.
The team has further been tasked to review and recommend changes to the implementation of aspects guiding the competency-based approach including but not limited to value-based education, community service learning, parental empowerment and engagement.
Among those who will sit in the task force are University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama, Prof Paul Wainaina of Kenyatta University, former Moi University VC Prof David Some, representatives of the church and private schools, award-winning teacher Peter Tabichi and a host of other scholars with education backgrounds.
Missing in the list are harsh critics of the CBC, representatives of teachers’ unions and associations in what insiders say is the push by Ruto for a sober team that would make unbiased recommendations.
Even though Ruto has allowed the team to co-opt such other persons who possess appropriate competencies into the team, insiders said that the remaining groups may only be allowed to submit their memoranda.
Also, only seven members from the previous task force gazetted by former Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha have been included in the present team, in what sources said, will provide insider information on why some of the CBC implementation decisions were made.
Seven representatives of the Kenya National Examination Council, Teachers Service Commission, Ministry of Education and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development will also sit in the committee as secretaries.
The team will also be required to relook at the assessments and examinations framework and make recommendations on whether the present method will hold.
This means that the team may alter the levels of assessments and examinations as presently offered and suggest a different set of way of testing the learners.
Presently, all learners undertake school-based assessments marked and scored by teachers at grades 4, 5 and 6, each constituting 20 per cent. This cumulatively comes to 60 per cent. A final examination is proposed to be done at the end of Grade Six Kenya Primary Schools Education Assessment (KPSEA) with a total mark of 40 per cent. This is the examination that replaced KCPE.
Under CBC, KPSEA examination shall be used to place learners to grade seven, which is the start of Junior Secondary School, a level that has posed a major transition headache.
The president now wants the team to study, assess and make recommendations on the assessments and the examinations framework.
Ruto also wants the task force to prepare progress reports every two months.
For higher education, Ruto wants the team to review and recommend governance and financing frameworks for TVETs and universities, research and training.
How middle-level education would be streamlined, the rollout of the Open University of Kenya and how to merging major higher education funds as was captured in Kenya Kwanza manifesto will also form part of the team’s job. This means that the Higher Education Loans board (Helb), TVET and Universities Funding boards will be collapsed into one entity.
“…to study all laws governing the tertiary education subsector and make recommendations for review of these legislations with a view to streamlining effectiveness and efficiency in the subsector,” Ruto said.
Ruto said that the Working Party shall have the powers and carry out such other functions necessary to undertake any matter incidental or ancillary to the foregoing.
Overall, team may also make new recommendations on teacher education and training framework for both pre-service and in-service and how the tutors may be deployed.
There has been a split on who between primary and high school tutors will teach learners in junior secondary schools with suggestions made that secondary teachers take over the role.
The team will also be required to suggest the technology for curriculum delivery, improved learning outcomes and education management.
Also, the team shall advise on the governance mechanisms of learning institutions and sharing of resources across schools and TVET institutions to ensure maximum utilisation of public resources for improved learning outcomes.
“To review and recommend a framework for physical and e-infrastructure development and coordination of public-private partnerships for improved access and quality provision; and to review and recommend a tracking system to capture and enroll children of school age to ensure universal access to pre- primary, primary and secondary education.”
The task force will also make recommendations on the public school categorisation policies and implications on access, transition and cost.
Schools are presently categorised as national, extra county, county and sub-counties.
In addition, they will also review and recommend appropriate financing framework including capitation and minimum essential package grants for all levels of basic education.