It's still not too late to rethink the CBC debacle

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

We cannot ignore the fact that implementation of the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) is a slow-moving train wreck.

We had a functioning education system that needed reforming and then went ahead and completely broke it.

Now what we have is an incoherent education policy and system that makes little sense “on the ground.”

That we are still proceeding with CBC is an indictment of our policymaking process, and a vivid reminder of the government’s utter contempt for ordinary Kenyans.

Education experts have argued for years that we should have thought more about the philosophy behind CBC. What kind of citizens do we want to nurture through the system?

Does the system make sense for vast majority of our households that are poor and headed by parents who may not be in a position to participate as much as is expected under CBC?

Yet even if we give the government benefit of the doubt regarding policy design, the logistical implementation of CBC has been a disaster.

We introduced junior high school but did not bother to increase capacity.

Teachers were not adequately trained ahead of the rollout. Protestations from parents and experts were roundly ignored.

The government simply did not care about policy feedback. It had adopted an idea and was going to bulldoze it through come what may.

This is no way to run a complex sector like the education docket. To make mistakes is human.

Furthermore, implementing policy always reveals new information, even when preceded by sound design.

Consequently, it is perfectly reasonable to expect the process of policy implementation to reveal new information that leads to a course correction.

The implementation of CBC has done precisely that. At multiple milestones in the process, we have come to appreciate the many flaws from the design phase.

It is painfully obvious to anyone who bothers to look that we are destroying public education.

Every parent that can afford is moving their children to the private sector. It is time we marshalled the courage to accept that CBC was not properly thought out and needs an overhaul.

It is not too late to stop this slow-moving train wreck. That is the least that we can do for millions of Kenyan children.

-The writer is an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University