Sossion: Why we are opposed to CBC

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion. [Standard]

A teachers' union yesterday detailed a rigorous eight-step process that it says the Government should have followed ahead of roll-out of new curriculum.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) accused the Ministry of Education of using shortcuts to rush through the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), which will replace the 8-4-4 system.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion argued that Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) failed to follow the international standard of curriculum reform.

He claimed the ministry was instead pushing the agenda of World Bank and United Nations Children’s Education Fund (Unicef).

Sossion claimed the national curriculum policy launched last week by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha was premature as an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the 8-4-4 curriculum, that would inform the needs for the new curriculum, had not been done.

He explained that a summative evaluation report of the existing 8-4-4 curriculum was not done to establish the merits and demerits of the same.

He was categorical that while the new curriculum could be good, the threshold and the laid down procedures were not followed, rendering the subsequent roll-out of the exercise illegal, null and void.

“There was no national conference to validate a summative evaluation of the existing curriculum. Let KICD bring forth any evidence the new curriculum was approved by Parliament,” Sossion challenged KICD.

Make business

Sossion, who is also the ODM nominated MP representing workers in the august House, claimed that the new CBC is being pushed by foreigners and locals who are out to make business at the expense of the Kenyan child, a move whose effects will be devastating.

Sossion explained that although needs assessment for the new curriculum was done by KICD, it was one of the poorest exercises ever carried in an education reform process globally.

“KICD should have resigned by now because they are not independent. This process is a short-cut being driven by cartels in the ministry, publishers and foreigners. The ministry, TSC and KICD are just flower girls in the whole process,” Sossion said.

He said the policy also lacks merit as it is being launched months after the curriculum is already in place.

“We cannot be invited as flower girls to go and cheer a policy that we never participated in. How on earth can a nation roll-out a curriculum without a legitimate policy framework?” he posed.

Sossion said as as far as teachers are concerned, the rolled out curriculum is unconstitutional and illegal hence none of Knut members will participate.

“8-4-4 was piloted for four years nonstop before it was rolled out in 1985. Are parents even prepared for the new curriculum? Do they understand what CBC entails?” he posed adding that “Teachers were policed into centres of training on CBS.

"You cannot roll out a curriculum through intimidation and policing. It will not work. The CS should know that he is pushing what is already dead,” Sossion said.

According to Sossion, after needs assessment, KICD ought to have developed a policy framework where a commission should have been formed to go throughout the country to collect views and table the report before Education stakeholders National Conference.

The report could then be used to formulate a Sessional Paper and presented before Parliament for debate and approval.

Sossion further explained that once the Sessional Paper to alter the curriculum is adopted by Parliament, curriculum design framework ought to have been developed before syllabus design.

Upon completion of the syllabus design, Sossion explains, development of books and other learning materials follow. These are then subjected to tests before a pilot roll-out is done and a summative evaluation report is taken before the National Conference.

“The design of the curriculum was not approved by Parliament. We are auctioning our country to foreigners. Everything KICD and the ministry is doing is illegal,” said Sossion.

In March, this year, Knut commissioned a study which revealed that there is a major deficit across the 47 counties of teachers with the necessary competences and skills to implement the CBC in primary schools.

According the survey, the report shows that most schools have only one trained teacher in the CBC with a learner population of 40-79 pupils per stream and more than one stream from PP1 to Grade Three.

But even with the ones already trained, majority of the teachers say that they were not adequately prepared to take the learners on the new curriculum.

The report revealed that trainings were conducted mainly for two to three days only for only one week instead of the stipulated five days per week.

The study noted that the trainings were too short to equip teachers with knowledge and skills about CBC, which implies that teachers generally have limited or lacked knowledge and skills for its successful implementation.

“Teachers were not satisfied with their knowledge and understanding in the following areas key competency areas, learning areas, learning resources to use per strand and sub-strand, assessment methods, assessment of learning and individual learners, grading assignments and development of teaching aids,” reads part of the findings.

And now Knut wants the process stopped, teachers to revert to Outcome Based Curriculum and the process started afresh putting in place the stakeholders’ engagement at every step.