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Kenya government should heed teachers' call

By The Standard | August 11th 2016

"Ranking," said Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development CEO, Julius Jwan, "is not one of the parameters of learning." Teachers couldn't agree more. Their contention that ranking assumes that all schools are the same or that skills and talents cannot be compared is tried and tested. Moreover, the teachers are in agreement that it is time to do away with the exam-oriented curriculum currently taught in schools.

While abolishing ranking in 2014, then Education CS Jacob Kaimenyi decried the cut-throat competition that had pervaded the schooling system that put undue pressure on learners, teachers and parents for results. Nonetheless, MPs voted last week to reinstate ranking.

On its own, does ranking promote or impede learning? The intention for ranking was noble; it is good for competition and to benchmark. But over time, ranking presented the education sector with new challenges as profiteers took advantage of a lax regulatory framework and ruined the novelty in competition.

So as standards in private schools rose, they fell inexorably in public schools. And even where learners scored high marks, they remained deficient in critical thinking, problem-solving skills and emotional intelligence. These are critical resources in the workplace and generally in life. Hopefully, the review of the 8-4-4 curriculum will give room to a system that churns out all-rounded students.

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