Kenya is in the process of implementing the Competency- Based Curriculum (CBC) to replace the much- criticized 8-4-4 system. This in itself is a noble cause. However, many questions have been raised regarding the driving philosophy behind the change
Is it because the previous system(s) has become completely obsolete or is it because we have crafted a better philosophy which can be best transmitted in the new system?
The publication reported that the decades- old Bachelor of Education degree course (B. Ed) through which thousands of Kenyan students have trained to become teachers will soon be no more.
Even then, the system is credited for streamlining university enrolment by creating a level playing ground for both the poor and the rich.
In addition, students who wish to pursue a career in teaching will instead take regular arts or science degrees and a one-year post- graduate diploma in education to qualify for registration as teachers.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) now wants Kenyan universities to scrap the B.Ed course as part of reforms intended to usher in the Competency- Based Curriculum (CBC).
The CBC aims to be a more student- based system, with more focus on the ability of the student to self- learn and develop relevant skills requisite for any engagement carried out.
This way of thinking is perhaps informed by the opening up of the world, which has been spurred by the internet explosion.
We feel the TSC framework is not acceptable as it is going to water down our education system, teachers require specialised training right from the start; universities are currently working to align their education programmes to CBC. Says Dr Wilfridah Itolondo, a senior education lecturer at the university.
However, under 8-4-4, learners spend 18 years in school, when the two years of pre-school are factored in.
Under CBC, they will spend 17 years following the structure of 2-6-3-3-3.
When bed is scrapped off just as they propos e, I think that we shall have almost all graduates doing pgde. Each year we shall be having over 100 000 teachers, each wanting to be employed by TSC. In three or four years, we shall be having 500 000 teachers waiting for TSC job. Only 25 300 among those will get TSC jobs. Currently, we have over 190 000 trained teachers waiting for TSC job. This is going to be really bad.
Actually this is where the universities now have to take only the top cream applicants. Then we have even better teachers. No need of training everyone who will apply for pgde.
Apparently this seem to be a problem across the continent. Our educational direction is haphazardly and not in tune with the real needs. In Zambia for example we have an estimated 90,000 trained teachers waiting to be employed and every year hundreds add up to this number. However, as though this was not a challenge enough government has issued a blank a cheque to higher institutions of learning to train as they will without considering simple fundamentals such as how many teachers does the nation need over a determined number of years and in which subjects should these teachers be trained in, the result is that the nation may just have over 80% of teachers trained in history and religious education and yet everyone is talking about science and technology being the future for national development and growth. Honesty, we have never been serious about real tangible development.
Finally some help coming! I quit teaching because our education system stopped making sense to me. I was really disappointed to have people in my B.ed class who did the degree to move to the next salary level. Since then I opted never to work in an 8-4-4 school. I have had the opportunity to work with international schools in Kenya and that was quit fulfilling though some of them also have to change their approach. Alot has changed in the world about education and only those who will change with it will appreciate life in the future. I fully support the self directed learning(SDE) by CBC