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Inside team Ruto's radical CBC proposals

A CBC public participation forum at Meru Teachers College. [George Kaimenyi, Standard]

Grade Six learners may remain in their present primary schools for two years.

This proposal could ease transition challenges for the government and also address parents’ concerns about the age of learners.

The Standard has established that the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms is mulling over a proposal that may alter the present structure of 2-6-3-3-3 which is implementing Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) to a new one of 2-6-2-4-3.

At the centre of the proposal is how the present 8-4-4 learners may transit out of the system first and later pave way for the new crop of CBC learners.

Under CBC, learners spend two years in pre-primary, six years in primary, and three years each in junior and senior secondary schools and at the university.

Insiders in the task force told The Standard that the present Standard Seven learners under the 8-4-4 system will have to sit KCPE next year and move to Form One before the pioneer Grade Six learners transit.

This means that these CBC learners may remain in their present schools as 8-4-4’s last crop transit to secondary schools.

Transition under this system poses huge infrastructure and staffing challenges with anticipated double intake in secondary schools next year

During his inauguration, President William Ruto said his administration will craft a solution before January next year when the double intake is expected. “We are particularly alive to the anxieties of parents on the twin transitions of the last 8-4-4 class and the first CBC class in January next year. I assure you that there will be a solution to the matter before then,” Ruto said.

While setting up the team, he asked the committee to suggest how best CBC can best be implemented in a manner that addresses the challenges that have dogged it.

He asked the team to recommend an appropriate structure to implement the CBC. This meant that the present method of rolling out the CBC under the 2-6-3-3-3 could change.

It also means that the transition method as suggested under the present implementation structure may be changed and where junior secondary education will be domiciled may also be reviewed.

In the new proposal being considered by the task force, pre-primary and nursery school will take two years and these children are expected to be aged between five and six years.

Learning in primary school will take six years and children at this level will be aged between seven and 12 years. Learning in junior secondary school will last two years and students will be aged between 13 and 14 years. At senior secondary schools, where they will be for four years, learners will be expected to be aged between 15 and 18 years.

Tertiary and university education will last a minimum of three years. This means that programmes that take four years will still be accommodated. With this proposal, the pioneer CBC learners, who are set to sit their end-of-primary education examinations next month, may remain in the same schools for another two years.

Insiders said that if adopted, this would mean that after sitting their Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) in December, the present Grade Six learners will just move to the next class (Grade Seven) within the same school in January.

These learners will then move to Grade Eight in 2024 after which they will transition through placements, to senior secondary schools in 2025.

Others in the committee said that because Grade 7 and Grade 8 will be secondary-level education, the government may even introduce unique uniforms to distinguish the learners from the rest of primary school ones.

In their memoranda, Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) proposed that learners in Grade 7 and Grade 8 be given unique uniforms.

“For psychological satisfaction, the uniforms will distinguish them from the rest of learners because they will be at a higher level than their colleagues,” said Johnson Nzioka, Kepsha chair. “And if the name junior secondary is the bone of contention, it is not cast in stone and it can be renamed senior school or senior primary school.”

Some committee members however said that while remaining in the primary schools’ compounds to utilise the existing spaces, the grades 7 and 8 learners will be taught the secondary school curriculum.

There has been a debate if these learners should be taught primary or secondary curriculum. Experts argued that the level of education was recommended to be of high schools and they must be taught secondary schools curriculum. 

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