CBC has too many challenges; let us try holistic education

Cabinet Secretary Ministry Of Education Prof. George Magoha speaking during the National launch of re-engineered national education management information system (NEMIS) on August 2, 2022. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

To promote inclusive and sustainable national development, create more decent jobs and improve living standards, the new government has crafted an appropriate and well-timed education sector strategic development plan.

Impelled by UNDP data which indicates that expeditious economic growth has occurred in many countries such as Japan, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Brazil, China and South Korea due to the implementation of favourable strategic plans in the education sector, the new administration is determined to have high-level per capita income; a significant degree of industrialisation; a diversified export base and a financial sector that is blended with the global financial system.

These countries relied on comprehensive situation analysis of their education sectors as a basis for formulating education policies and strategic development plans. It was found that education raised people's productivity, creativity and promoted entrepreneurship and technological advances.

Article 53.1(b) of the Constitution provides every child's right to free and compulsory basic education. It is the responsibility of the government to provide quality basic education to every child. More so, Section 39(c) the Basic Education Act states that children in marginalised, vulnerable or disadvantaged groups should not be discriminated against and prevented from pursuing quality education.

The manner in which Competence Based Education (CBC) is being implemented is discriminative and violates the Constitution and the Basic Education Act. This is because the cost of taking a child to school under CBC is unaffordable to most families.

In addition, educators can hardly access teaching tools while majority of parents can't afford learning aids for their children. Moreover, teachers have not been coached competently to handle CBC classes and conduct lessons satisfactorily. The new curriculum is meant for children from affluent backgrounds as they can easily access learning materials.

It is unfortunate that the ministry is misinforming the public that the government has provided textbooks for all the subjects to all primary schools; that ICT gadgets have been supplied to all schools; that all schools are resourced with two laptops, a projector, an external server, tablets and that over 85 per cent of schools are connected to the national electricity grid.

Since the Education ministry has held conferences and colloquiums on implementation of CBC, and moreover Prof Fatuma Chege task force has had little success, the task force on the review of the education system should consider introducing holistic education - a concept that has been adopted by many countries-, identify and enhance skills, competencies and encourage critical-thinking skills in solving real-world problems and also equip life skills in learners that will help them to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Holistic education is less costly, less involving and aptly covers areas that CBC is attempting to address.

Mr Wilson Sossion is an expert in education, leadership and policy