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How CBC is killing us: Parents tell taskforce

Mary Lubia assist her PP1 children in the implementation of Competency Based Curriculum at her home in Kisumu. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Parents and guardians feel that hidden costs are making the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) expensive to administer.

Apart from the high cost, parents are concerned with the numerous assignments, which they complained were a burden to them and learners.

As a result, the Kenya Parents Association is urging government to come up with an appropriate parental empowerment and engagement model that reduces school work at home.

“Parents are overburdened with the economy. When they retire home in the evening, school work awaits them,” says the association’s chairman David Obuhatsa.

Most parents, according to the official, are not conversant with CBC hence the need for a review with aiming of relieving them off many tasks and demands.

Jemimah Waithera, an accountant and a parent to a Grade Four learner complained of the heavy workload assigned learners in form of homework.

“After the hustle of the day, you retire home only to be met with another workload from your child’s homework. You make shakers, find soil, take photos and print them. This is too much work for me at night when I’m supposed to relax after a hard day at work,’’ she complained.

Equally, parents and guardians are finding it difficult to acquire or purchase some of the learning items. 

“Parents incur additional expenses when buying study, writing and practical materials for homework. Downloading, printing and photocopying costs are out of reach for many parents,” said Obuhatsa.

Alternative Providers for Basic Education and Training (APBET) chairman Paul Wanjohi says most schools in slums have a big challenge downloading exams since parents cannot afford to foot the bills.

“Cost of assessments in some areas will be a challenge; and this is likely to compromise the quality and outcome of results,” noted Wanjohi.

Kenya Primary School Heads Association is of the view that assessment materials should be supplied in schools through the Free Primary Education capitation.

“For this to succeed, the government should be ready to invest in assessment and regular formative assessments be coordinated and supervised by the sub-county directors for integrity purpose,” says the association’s chairman Johnson Nzioka.

To cushion them from the economic burden, parents are urging the government to increase capitation, a proposal that has received the backing of Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers.

The union says the capitation has remained static for more than a decade when it was last reviewed in 2010. For instance, a learner in a public primary day school receives an annual capitation of Sh1,400.

‘‘Taking into consideration the current status with the respective gaps, inflation rate, cost of living and depreciation, we propose the capitation to be increased to Sh8,546 per child,” says Kuppet’s secretary general Akelo Misori.

But, Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general Collins Oyuu is of the view that capitation should be varied depending on the working environment.

“You cannot rate teachers in the central region with a teacher serving in Marsabit and expect them to deliver the same concept equally. We want these teachers to be facilitated well,” observed Oyuu.

According to the Knut boss, the government should remove the financial burden from parents by fully funding CBC, which was introduced in 2017.

Under this curriculum, each learner’s progress is monitored over a period of 2-6-3-3 years. It is divided into three levels of early years of education, middle school education and senior, tertiary and university education.

Emmanuel Manyasa, an education expert says there is need to review the capitation model.

“The government should consider providing capitation to low-cost APBET schools which play a complementary role to government’s provision of basic education,” said Usawa Agenda executive director. 

Safety and socialisation 

Concerned about the safety and socialisation of their children set to join Junior Secondary, parents are pushing to retain them in primary schools. 

There have been raging debate on whether to place the transiting Grade Six learners either in secondary or primary schools.

Most parents feel the learners are still to young to mingle with those already in secondary schools hence the push to have the young learners remain in primary schools where parents argue they will seamlessly and comfortably transition to high school.

“We want the Junior Secondary to be domiciled in a primary setup as the students come of age. Taking them to high school will be tantamount to exposing them to a lot of ills like drugs that are associated with senior students,” says Obuhatsa.

Last year, the government released Sh8 billion to construct 10,000 CBC classrooms across the country to accommodate the 1,268,830 learners who are expected to transit to Junior Secondary in January 2023. 

Private schools constructed an additional 5,000 classrooms to supplement the requisite spaces needed to accommodate all the learners.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) chairman Kahi Indimuli strongly feels that boarding schools should be abolished and therefore Junior Secondary should either be based in primary or day secondary schools.