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Confusion on rollout of new curriculum

Teachers in far flung areas of North Rift yet to undergo training ahead of realisation of 2-6-3-3-3 syllabus

Winstone Chiseremi @Wchiseremi

Hundreds of children in lower primary school classes in marginalised counties in North Rift will be disadvantaged if the new curriculum is implemented, stakeholders say.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials from the region have lashed out at the government for rushing the rollout of the Competency Based Curriculum in public and private schools without factoring in key issues raised by stakeholders in the education sector.

The union’s West Pokot Executive Secretary Martin Simbelo says teachers and parents are not aware of what the new education system entails. ‘Tutors who are expected to implement it have not even been taken for training by the Education ministry,” he says.

Sembelo said teachers only hear through the media about plans on the new 2-6-3-3-3 system but relevant ministry officials in the North Rift have not made efforts to impart knowledge and skills to the implementers of the process on the ground.

“Majority of the teachers in far flung areas of Alale which borders Uganda and Turkwel Gorge situated along the border of West Pokot and Turkana counties have not undergone any training ahead of the roll out of the new system of education,” stated Sembelo.

Outspoken Elgeyo Marakwet Knut Executive Secretary John Cheberi declared that his members would not be part of the implementation of the new system. He said the new curriculum was bound to fail in marginalised counties due to lack of learning materials, shortage of tutors and lack of infrastructure along Kerio Valley.

Cheberi said the most affected in the planned roll out of the new curriculum are learners in public schools that border the volatile West Pokot and Tiaty sub county in Baringo County. “There has been frequent disruption of learning in schools along Kerio Valley that borders West Pokot and Baringo counties in the past four years. Teachers from the region have not  been trained on the new curriculum to prepare them ahead of roll out,”  he said.

Worse, none of the public schools in the area has received books that are necessary for teaching the new system of education. “As I am speaking to you, no school in the region has received textbooks and other learning and teaching materials in the wake of roll out of the new curriculum,” said Cheberi.

However, County Director of Education John Wamocho allayed fears over the roll out of the new system, saying everything has been set to ensure the programme succeeds for the benefit of the learners in lower levels. “This is a process and there should be no worry over the implementation of the new curriculum. We have trained some teachers and more will be trained as along the way,” assured Wamocho.

Financial implications

According to Tony Nasia, Knut Turkana branch executive secretary, the government will be doing disservice to children from hardship counties should it go ahead with the implementation of the new curriculum that is set to phase out the 8-4-4 system.

Nasia castigated the government for overlooking their concerns, key among them insecurity, inadequate teachers, and lack of infrastructure on the ground.

“No ministry of education official has bothered to visit schools in Turkana North or Turkana South to assess the situation on the ground. Most of the schools have been abandoned due to frequent attacks by armed bandits,” he said.

He wondered how the State expects tutors who are always on the run due to insecurity will get time to implement the new curriculum. “Teachers have not been trained to carry out the process unlike their counterparts working in peaceful parts of the country,” he said. 

Nasia said that none of the parents in the bandit prone county are aware of the list of approved books for the new curriculum and called for the postponement of proposed education system in marginalised counties.

Their concerns come in wake of rejection of the roll out of the new curriculum by the 47 County governments citing lack of enough funds for the process. Governors also say tutors have not been properly trained on the syllabus.

Chairman of the Council of Governors, Josphat Nanok said last month  that the devolved units will not be able to implement the education plan unless they are allocated money to support the programme. Nanok, who is also Turkana governor, said the rollout of the programme at county level may have serious financial implications unmanageable within the 2018-2020 medium term expenditure budget.

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