Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha yesterday hailed teachers for embracing the new Competency-Based Curriculum despite spirited efforts by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) to derail the process.
Speaking at Nakuru Boys’ High School in Nakuru county, Magoha said teachers across the country had shown 100 per cent commitment and implementation was progressing well. He urged teachers and other stakeholders to ignore “prophets of doom”, saying CBC would address inadequacies of the 8-4-4 system of education.
“I can confirm without fear of contradiction that CBC is working. Let nobody tell you it is not going to work where we have a class of more than 40 learners because that is not true. I want to accept on behalf of government that we have challenges in regard to primary school infrastructure and we are dealing with it in an organised manner,” said Magoha.
The CS said the government had set aside Sh300 million this financial year to address issues of infrastructure. “Let nobody tell you that teachers are incompetent, because they are doing some good work. Remember, I am not the kind of person to be told what is happening. I go out there and see with my own eyes,” he said.
Magoha said 100,000 teachers had already been trained on the new curriculum and that a similar number would be trained during August holidays, specifically for Grade Four.
At the same time, Prof Magoha asked Parliament to fast-track the adoption of Sessional Paper 1 (2019) on the CBC, which would go a long way in addressing some of the issues Knut raised. “Let us put politics out of the new curriculum. Although it is not a must that we have a sessional paper, I believe it is going to clear the noise we are having out there,” he said.
Magoha asked Kenya National Examination Council to sensitise the public on the impending assessment for Grade III pupils.
“In simple terms the assessment for pupils in Grade Three is not an examination neither will it impose bottleneck for the learners,” he assured.
He said there would be internal assessments at Grade Four to ascertain progress made by learners. Magoha said the government had supplied textbooks for lower primary pupils between Grades One and Three adding that text books for Grade Four were being printed.
Elsewhere, Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion directed his 110 executive secretaries to participate in the curriculum reforms talks.
He said the forums would enable teachers articulate their position on the curriculum. Knut had previously rallied teachers to boycott the talks.
However, a section of Knut and Kenya Union Post Primary Education Teachers maintain the country is not prepared for CBC rollout.
Knut’s Mombasa branch secretary general Dan Aloo and Executive Secretary Stephen Ouma observed that it would be futile to expect success in the new curriculum without proper structures in place
“They are telling us that the train has left the station but it has left everybody behind including the driver and the conductor. You cannot expect this to be successful when you have not trained the teachers adequately and put structures in place,” Aloo said.
The contradicting views came as Education PS Belio Kipsang said preparations were on course. “Grade Four is the most critical stage of CBC that we must get right. It is at this level that we will attain the take off stage and we must therefore do all what we can to keep this plane in the air because we will have no chance to fix problems once it’s airborne.”
Similar dialogues were being undertaken in seven regions with the PS saying the culmination of the dialogue will be a National Curriculum Conference in Nairobi next month.
In Kisumu, University Education and Research PS Collette Suda said the government was prepared to address all issues facing the CBC to ensure successful implementation. She said the State was committed to tackling stakeholder concerns including policy, infrastructural and financial challenges.
Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia said 113,223 tutors from both public and private schools had been trained on CBC. She said of the trained, 90,806 were from public schools and another 22,417 from academies.
“A total of 113,223 teachers were trained in April 2019 for early Grades 1,2, 3 and Grade 4 in readiness for implementation of CBC,” Macharia said at Shimo la Tewa High School in Mombasa.
The commission, she said intended to train 225,000 early grade and grade 4 teachers by the end of this year. Macharia said the commission had been allocated funds to recruit 5,000 teachers on permanent and pensionable terms.
Meanwhile, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) PS Kevit Desai said CBC seeks to address skills gaps and the mismatch between vocational training and industrial needs.
He observed that the government intends to establish a TVET institution in every constituency with each accommodating 1,000 learners. Each of the institutions will cost Sh50 million.
In Kiambu, County Sports Director Getangu Chege lauded the new education system saying it would aid the young generation to actively take part in sporting activities.
Reporting by Seth Mwaniki, Brian Musyoka, Reuben Mwambingu, Noven Owiti, Noah Cheploen