Align education reforms with industrial revolution

Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) has been rejected by developed economies, who have instead remodelled their education systems based on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Thus, the Taskforce on Education Reforms should not devote too much time, expertise and resources to clearing cobwebs in CBC, instead, it should come up with a hybrid model of a knowledge-based education system. The model should also be integrated with the 21st Century skills of competencies and values but aligned to the fourth industrial revolution philosophically.

African education systems are designed in a manner that they are against industrialisation. To this end, CBC is an imposed foreign prescription that cannot promote innovation and industrialisation. CBC model is irrelevant and not compatible with the tenets and aspirations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

On transition from Grade Six to secondary school, the matrix is not refined enough, hence it invites dire consequences. Education reforms that invite additional costs to households and the State must never be adopted.

Consequently, all Grade Six leavers should transit to Grade Seven in their current schools, but be taught by graduate teachers. It is more economical to deploy graduate teachers to primary schools than to move these learners to secondary school at Grade Seven.

Therefore, the task force should judiciously carry out its mandate, fully aware that it is time for Kenya to adopt an educational model that is holistic, relevant and rewarding - a system that is aligned with the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is the new normal.

An education system anchored on industrial revolution will offer Kenyan children unique opportunities to shape their own future. This will fundamentally alter how Kenyans live, interact and work in the unpredictable society.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is profound in the sense that its ramifications are more intense and heartfelt than what we have witnessed in human history. Thus, the task force led by Prof Raphael Munavu has zero option but to reform the education system to conform to the tenets and aspirations of industrial revolution.

The revolution embraces in totality, technology revolution - and since cybernation influences and transforms how we learn in school, and nearly impacts how we conduct every aspect of our daily lives, we have to adjust to the digital platform.

The digital revolution has taken over homes, offices and businesses, and moreover, it is transforming the way children acquire information, communicate, learn and even interact with their peers.

As stated in Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 on policy framework for reforming education and training for sustainable development; the task force is therefore obligated to anchor education reforms on Industrial Revolution so that Kenya could catch up with the rest of the world.

The Industrial Revolution calls for the systematic shift from archaic pedagogies to modern teaching technics supported by educational technologies like tablets, projectors, smart boards and digital textbooks.

If we embrace new pedagogies, then technology will help considerably to create new relationships between teachers and learners as well as to accelerate teachers' skills being passed over to pupils and students in the learning process.

In actual fact, education in Kenya must evolve to support teachers in developing students' potential and prepare learners to become innovative and have critical thinking skills.

To be more precise, the Fourth Industrial Revolution gives teachers what might be the most significant responsibility of the present time - the revolution advocates for enhanced teaching strategies so that teachers could unlock students' potential.

Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2019 states that education and training is the primary means of social mobility, national cohesion and economic development - thus reforming education and training must be aligned to modern educational models.

To prepare learners competently for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, teachers must progress into being facilitators of learning - hence educators are under obligation to allow technology to support learners in gaining skills and competencies. In lieu, teachers need to progress into facilitating learning that meets the learners' expectations and what leads to relevance in training for the job market.

Ideally, the shifts are all about empowering students to think independently. Technology and ecreative thinking skills will assist learners to be innovative in life.

The shift also calls for personalised learning which builds students' talents and problem-solving skills using available technology tools that allow learners to resolve issues in ways never imagined before.

The concept further dictates that teachers ought to be equipped with better teaching devices and enhanced connectivity, and that they should work in a friendlier environment so as to effectively empower students.

Emphasis will have to be on Stem (Science Technology Engineering Maths) - there is no doubt every worker now and in the future will require technical skills, therefore improvement in Stem is paramount.

All-in-all, to successfully transit from the current education system to a model anchored on the 4th Industrial Revolution, the Taskforce on Education Reforms will have to recommend to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology to focus majorly on the eight core areas namely:

(i) Redefine the purpose of education;

(ii) Improve Stem education;

(iii) Develop human potential;

(iv) Adapt to lifelong learning models;

(v) Alter educator training;

(vi) Make schools makerspaces;

(vii) International mindfulness, and

(viii) Change higher education.

In sum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will greatly change the manner in which we relate to one another, live, conduct businesses, work and educate our children. These shifts will be enabled by smart technologies - technologies that have changed every industry across the world at unprecedented speed.

The writer is an expert in education, leadership and policy