Infrastructure, teacher training huge hurdle for CBC implementation
Stakeholders in the education sector are concerned that the government is staring at huge infrastructure and staffing challenges following transition from 8-4-4 system to Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).
According to Mary Kirika, chairperson, private schools in Thika, Kiambu county, the government will be required to expand and put up junior secondary school facilities, among them classrooms.
The pioneer Grade Six learners, who will sit national examinations under the 2-6-3-3-3 system next year, are expected to transition to junior secondary school in 2023.
It is also the year that the present Class Six learners under the 8-4-4 system will join Form One, presenting a huge infrastructure challenge.
However, during Mshunjaa Day celebrations, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the National Treasury to channel Sh8 billion towards the Education sector to cater for (CBC) Infrastructure Expansion Programme.
But Kirika who spoke in Thika faulted the government for also turning a blind eye to training of teachers saying the programme was being run selectively and discriminately disallowing a healthy competition between the public and private schools.
Further, Kirika alleged that the new system is being hurried for no reason and is forced on learners even before their teachers are well equipped. “Parents were, especially unprepared for the new system.
We are rushing them right, left and centre to purchase books that are not even found in the bookshops as publishers were also not brought on board,” she said.
Parents faulted the government for disregarding their input during the implementation of the new curriculum.
They said that all stakeholders were not given enough time to deliberate on the system.
Theynoted that it was rushed as even the publishers didn’t have time to work on books to align with the new system.
While acknowledging that the system looks good from the face as talents will be picked at a formative stage and nurtured, and weaknesses acted upon on time, the parents urged the government to pump resources for training of teachers and infrastructural development in all schools.
“The system is good if implemented gradually. What we are seeing is a rush that might end up failing to produce results,” Waithaka Mwangi, a parent, said.
However, John Kamau, principal at Sheridan Preparatory in Ruiru noted that the system will enable learners to solve different societal problems easily alongside enabling appreciation of value of hard work, the importance of peace and harmony, and effective communication, among other skills.
“We have an excellent system and with time, we will start to see positive results,” said the school head.
Race against time
At the same time, universities offering teachers training courses are racing against time to re-engineer their programmes to equip teachers with the right skills, knowledge and attitudes to ensure they are at par with the new system.
Among the higher learning institutions that are grappling to fix their programme to fit the new system is Kenyatta University, which according to the management is doing everything possible to review their curricula to conform to the CBC as per the requirements of the Ministry of Education.
Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina says that the institution is further working on a programme that will offer Teacher Professional Development (TPD) courses with an aim to turn teaching into a solid profession.
“As we all know, experienced teachers at times find it difficult to change their ways of teaching as they are so much rooted in their beliefs and their knowledge and teaching practice accumulated during their years of teaching.
Teacher professional development is therefore important because education is an ever-growing and ever-changing profession, which then calls for teachers to be lifelong learners in order to adapt to new teaching methods, techniques and approaches,” Wainaina said.
While urging teachers to positively embrace their training, Prof Wainaina termed professional development for teachers as a crucial vehicle for enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in schools.
Meanwhile, financially-drained parents have urged the government to consider extending learners’ holidays to allow them enough time to look for school fees.
Since learners resumed school following long break necessitated by Covid 19-pandemic, they have been going for short holiday, some as short as one week, a period that parents feel is not enough for them to get finances required for their children report back to school.
The learners who will be engaged in 11-week learning will not be going for a half term break as education stakeholders continue to scratch their heads to recover the lost academic year.
Education stakeholders at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels have embraced short lesson time, longer learning weeks and reduced class work among other measures to recover the lost school year.
Parents led by Edith Njenga, however feel that the government is cornering them despite having been devastated by Covid-19 through loss of jobs, businesses closure among other challenges that hovered them since the pandemic hit the country.
“Some of us lost jobs as a result of the pandemic, yet the government has failed to consider that.
Parents are being pushed right, left and centre, their financial status notwithstanding. The government should allow us time to breathe,” she said.
After a rigorous term of learning, the learners will be taking a break on December 23 before they again resume learning on January 2, 2022.