Why government is drifting away from 35-year-old 8-4-4 curriculum

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 12:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday explained why the government is changing the education curriculum.

Speaking yesterday during the launch of the task force report on the new Competence Based Curriculum (CBC), the President said the change in curriculum was necessitated by the 8-4-4 system becoming inconsistent with the aspirations of the nation.

Outlining the stages of curriculum review in the country since independence, Uhuru said the current review was due to the curriculum being overloaded and its academic and examination focused approach. 

“Our Founding Fathers embarked on a mission of course-correction to transition from a colonial education system that prepared learners for servitude to one that gave them tools to lead a newly independent nation,” the President said.

He pointed out that the Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 laid the ideological foundation for this transition. 

“We re-oriented our education system and anchored it on the three goals of Mutual Social Responsibility, Africanisation, and Economic productivity,” said Uhuru.

In 1985, the country made yet another monumental shift, he explained.

Growing nation

“We transitioned from the 7-4-2-3 system into the 8-4-4 system,” Uhuru went on.

“But with time, the 8-4-4 curriculum became inconsistent with the aspirations of our growing nation, particularly because of its overloaded curriculum and its academic and examination focused approach,” Uhuru explained.

He added the curriculum similarly proved rigid and unforgiving to the learner, who did not fit into its mould.

“A mould that placed inordinate emphasis on content as opposed to competency; raw knowledge as opposed to hands-on skills,” he said.

Due to this, the President said the government began re-engineering it, and had to return to the foundational principles of Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965. 

“The spirit of this anchor instrument was simple: ‘citizens do not fail - systems fail them’. 

And if the systems are inconsistent with the aspirations of the people, they must be changed,” he said.

The new curriculum dispensation has seen the country embrace the new system 2-6-3-3.

“We are at a tipping-point in our education system. The old must give way to the new.

The summons of our times requires us to re-imagine how we have educated our children,” he said.

The President said the reforms require us to be bold, and not rigid and it calls everyone to imagine a system that creates responsible citizens as opposed to subjects.

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