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Implementation of CBC requires more tact, patience and sobriety

By Agumba Ndaloh | October 8th 2021

Ms Evaline Ogesa, a teacher at Shauri Yako Primary school in Homa Bay town teaches grade four pupils agriculture on January 10, 2020. [James Omoro,Standard]

The implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) in the country has been met with criticisms from several quarters.

This is quite healthy since it is beneficial to the policymakers in charge of monitoring the implementation process.

It is prudent that data should be collected and used to improve the curriculum.

The world over, changes in the education sector are never welcomed.

Those in charge of the process have always been treated to both progressive and at times, quite bizarre contributions from stakeholders.

However, our greatest problem is that when it comes to education issues, everybody is an expert.

This is where we find ourselves with the CBC.

Is there something untoward or adversely wrong with how we have implemented our curriculum? I doubt.

Hiccups are healthy

What we have are just hiccups that can easily be sorted out by those in the orbit of the implementation process.

They don’t warrant throwing the baby with the bathwater.

We have been treated to these loud and useful noises because all the previous changes in our education system and curriculum were made under authoritarian environments.

Nobody dared to question government policies.

Today, we are in a totally different environment.

So let’s enjoy the dance as we tread carefully not to break our legs.

Implementation is one of the trickiest parts of the curriculum development process.

It demands tact, patience and sobriety from stakeholders.

Any miss-step made may render the whole process entropy.

We are lucky the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has developed quite a progressive curriculum. The Competency-based curriculum is the way to go.

In our CBC, some innovations have been brought into the curriculum, thus making it be an improvement over many other similar curricula.

Other than the 21st-century skills that are espoused in our curriculum, we also have parental empowerment and engagement, pertinent and contemporary issues, core values, community service learning and non-formal activities that promote learning.

These are unique to our curriculum.

What is required to make this curriculum succeed is un-divided support from all the stakeholders.

Let the government finance the implementation process as the rest of us give it the much-needed support.

We should guard against dragging CBC in our murky politics of 2022.

Poking holes in the curriculum and how it is being implemented is quite healthy.

The problem is where we want to dismiss the whole curriculum as being inimical to the needs of the 21st century Kenyan child.

CBC is good for the country and even if it has failed in some countries, that does not mean it will fail here.

This curriculum has equally been a success story in many other countries.

We should be patient as the government rolls it in the country.

However, it is incumbent upon the government to provide the much-needed finance for infrastructural development, teacher re-tooling and instructional resources.

Nowhere in the world have we had a cheap curriculum.

Curriculum development and implementation is often an expensive undertaking.

It requires huge financial investment.

Policymakers equally need to listen to the views of all the stakeholders and incorporate their views.

Studied well, the data can be used to improve the curriculum.

At least, KICD has already hinted at this. We have made the black box of the implementation to be opened.

Mutual adaptation

In equal measure, it should give room to both fidelity and mutual adaptation in the implementation process.

This can only be achieved where re-skilling and up-skilling of teachers have been made.

Unfortunately, this remains the black horse in the implementation process.

We have totally failed to make use of Prof Erica McWilliam’s advice that today’s teacher is neither a sage on stage nor the guide on the side, but a meddler in the middle of our teacher re-tooling programme in the CBC.

Conceptualising curriculum change as part and parcel of system reforms makes us look at the sustainability element in any educational innovation.

Every effort should be channeled to making our new curriculum succeed.

Currently, our curriculum has all the hallmarks of successful implementation except for teacher re-tooling and infrastructural development, which can be addressed.

We can also up-scale our strategies in the following critical areas; resource support, feedback mechanisms and user participation.

Our behaviour and beliefs equally require re-examining.

They should focus on making the curriculum succeed.

Let the CBC enjoy a broader base of support, continuity of leadership, professional development and improvement of pupil learning.

All these demands patience and sobriety from stakeholders.

Dr Agumba Ndaloh teaches at Koitaleel Samoei University College. [email protected]

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