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Varsity don Stephen Odebero roots for new system, says best for country

By John S Shilitsa | September 23rd 2021

Stephen Odebero, who won a Global academic and technology award for his contribution to education development in Africa. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

University don Stephen Odebero says the Curriculum-Based Competence (CBC) programme is the best education system for Kenya.

The scholar, who recently bagged the prestigious intercontinental Education Excellence Award 2021 in Education Planning from India-based Ratna Prasad Multi-disciplinary Research and Education Society, argues that teething problems can easily be dealt with to clear the way for smooth implementation of the system.

Prof Odebero, who served earlier in the National Task Force on Curriculum Reforms in Education as Vice-chairman with Fatuma Chege as chairperson, said the new curriculum can work well despite the challenges.

According to Odebero, the committee did a good job on the CBC education system that saw Ms Chege appointed Principal Secretary, State Department for Implementation of Curriculum reforms.

“I can say without fear of contradiction that CBC is the best thing that has happened in our education sector and will put the country on the right trajectory in terms of improved education levels.”

Prof Odebero has taken it upon himself to visit schools, colleges and universities, preaching the CBC gospel.

“Some people think the CBC system is meant for primary schools and the teachers, far from the point, it is a transformative agenda targeting all institutions of education,” argues Prof Odebero.

He said the top management of our universities and colleges must embark on the implementation of CBC because degrees will now be offered in three years and not four as has been the norm.

"We are engaging top decision-makers and players in the education sector to ensure the takeoff is smooth.”

According to Odebero, a change of attitude would be critical in embracing the new system of education.

“CBC is practical, not knowledge-based and comes with its mode of assessment, meaning lecturers and university professors ought to do refresher courses to remain relevant.”

But Johnstone Wabuti, Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Kakamega branch chairman, said they are concerned that teachers in secondary schools have not been fully involved in the implementation of the new curriculum.

"This system is bound to fail, teachers have been left out in the process, yet the ministry wants to tell us we are good to go," said Wabuti.

Kuppet national chairperson Omboko Milemba echoed the sentiments, saying it was dangerous for the government and the Ministry of Education to go on with its bullish way in the implementation of CBC.

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