Competency-Based Curriculum mandate is to empower learners

Thursday, September 16th, 2021 00:00 |
Knec chief executive David Njeng’ere. Photo/File

The Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) is designed to ensure all learners finish basic education fully empowered and engaged, an education official has said.

Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chief executive David Njeng’ere said many children in the current education system, end up not being fully engaged as expected upon completing secondary level, a deficiency that CBC seeks to address.

Njeng’ere dismissed claims CBC was informed by foreign ideas, saying its mission and vision, had everything to do with founders of the country under the Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965.

Thinking skills

“Every person has a role to play in development of the vision, which says that every child will be engaged and empowered.

If you look at the current education, there are so many children not empowered at the end of basic education,” said Njeng’ere.

He said the CBC system is principled on mutual social responsibility; that there is no person in the African culture who is considered useless and every person has a role to play in national development.

“I want to invite the discourse to go in the direction of looking at what we have, in terms of the existing philosophy and how we have picked and applied them in conceptualising these reforms,” he said.

The Knec boss made the remarks in a meeting between Kenya Editors Guild and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to address concerns raised on the CBC.

“The mission says we will nurture every learner’s potential, which means we do not want a situation where any child exits from basic education without having been empowered with competencies which they can apply in national development,” said Njeng’ere.

Njeng’ere said the concept of broad based curriculum, especially in junior secondary school is to allow learners interact with different aspects namely STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, humanities and technical.

 He said this was made by design so that by the time learners are making decisions at the end of Grade 9 on career choices, it is not an arbitrary decision but based on their interaction in those different areas.

“For secondary, the rationale for this was based on a study that was conducted by World Bank in 2008 that looked at secondary education at a cross road.

It stated that at secondary is where you develop the higher order thinking skills,” said Njeng’ere.

Knec boss explained that developing higher order skills cannot happen if a broad curriculum is based at the senior secondary level.

“That is why we are saying at senior secondary let us narrow it down to areas where the children are good and specialise, develop skills that will enable them to be innovative and problem solvers,” he said.

He also said teachers are well placed to implement CBC. There is a misplaced notion that teachers are not competent enough to run CBC.

According to Njeng’ere, the decision to upgrade training of teachers to diploma was made in 2005 to raise the level of training for teachers. 

However, he said Knec prepared the assessment tools for Grade 4 and sent to teachers and administered it without participation of any person in form of invigilation or supervising.

Formative assessment

Knec then sent the scoring guides, the teachers marked and submitted the scores back to the council, with Njeng’ere saying that the scores of each child were not moderated.

“The fear was whether teachers would give us the correct scores without anyone supervising them, but they did a professional job was based on learners’ abilities,” he said.

“Based on the scores that teachers gave to Knec, there was no need to do moderation because they were actual reflection of performance of children.”

“That is criterion referenced, which means the purpose of that formative assessment is not to rank the children, it is simply to find out where each child is depending on the score card and what interventions we need to put in place to make sure that children can catch up,” he added.

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