Following his directive on the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), President Wiliam Ruto was confronted with a new set of requests from the education community on Wednesday, September 14.
Speaking to the media, representatives from the Private Schools Association and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) encouraged the Head of State to evaluate the costs of the curriculum that were passed down to parents.
Omboko Milemba, the national chairperson of KUPPET, made a suggestion that the new curriculum’s hidden costs caused parents to object to the CBC’s nationwide distribution.
Parents have expressed dissatisfaction about the new curriculum’s continuous demands that pupils supply materials like rice and cooking utensils for countless experiments, which they claimed was further raising living expenses.
“Who pays the cost of education vis-à-vis what the Constitution says? It is like a hidden cost is being taken to the parents. The parents could be resisting because they are fearful of the hidden cost,” questioned Milemba.
Akelo Misori, who serves as the Secretary-General of KUPPET, also argued that the biting teacher shortage is a major impediment to the rollout of the system.
He argued that the curriculum was heavily dependent on teachers yet the country has a deficit of more than 114,000 teachers.
“We are aware that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) alone have decried the understaffing of our school to the tune of 114,000 teachers in the year 2022. That is a figure that has been there before the transition of Grade 6 to junior secondary.
“We have a serious teacher gap dealing with the numbers. Dealing with the curriculum content, it may desire some kind of review,” explained Misori.
On the other hand, Solomon Munene, the National Vice Chairperson of the Private Schools Association, pushed the President’s committee to improve the training program for instructors to manage practical classrooms.
“There is a need to relook on the teachers qualifications to teach junior secondary school because they have technical subjects like Computer science and foreign languages which we do not have (teachers) out in the market,” he explained.
President Ruto informed parents in his inauguration address on Tuesday, September 13, that he would create a task team for education reform that would supervise citizen involvement in CBC implementation reform.
As the first batch of pupils transitions to Junior Secondary School (JSS) in January 2023 and a nationwide test is scheduled for December, he addressed the struggle of parents who are in a precarious situation.
“Public participation is critical in this matter. I will establish an education reform task force in the presidency that will be launched in the coming weeks. The task force will be in line with the constitutional demands of public participation,” Ruto stated.
The taskforce will be gathering the opinions of all pertinent parties and figuring out a parenting-friendly solution.
The President also stated that his administration will make efforts to facilitate a seamless switch from the 8-4-4 to the CBC.