By Claire Wanja
Curriculum developers are piecing together feedback on the success of the ongoing piloting of the new curriculum ahead of its implementation in January.
Results from the monitoring and evaluation exercise will come handy in enriching the content and guide publishers on the kind of learning materials required, for next year.
“We will use the feedback to tighten any lose ends in the new curriculum that is competency based, as opposed to the current one that emphasizes on examinations,” Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Director, Dr Julius Jwan said.
The curriculum experts mainly from KICD are spearheading the fact finding mission that entails monitoring how the teachers in the pilot schools are interacting with learners, under the new system of education.
So far, 22 counties have been visited and the rest will be reached by the end of this week pending final evaluation that will be undertaken in third term.
“Teachers are happy with the teaching and learning methods adopted. The curriculum developers are developing more learning materials that will be used up to third term,” Dr Jwan said on Saturday in Nairobi.
The proposed 2-6-3-3 education system is expected to churn out responsible citizens who are equipped with requisite skills and knowledge to not only rely on white collar jobs but, exploit their talents and abilities to create jobs, as well.
It emphasizes on continuous assessment as opposed to the current one-off final examinations that is to blame for rote learning that emphasizes on encouraging learners to memorize concepts to pass the examinations.
“The new curriculum emphasizes more on what learners can perform and not just what they can remember,” Dr Jwan said.
He appealed to Kenyans to volunteer information that would enrich the curriculum reforms and result to a universally acceptable education system.
Dr Jwan said review of the current system of education was long overdue, given that it has never been reviewed, for the last 14 years, yet the standard procedure should be after every five years.
“Kenya has not reviewed its curriculum since 2003, to ensure it meets emerging national and global standards,” Dr Jwan said.
Teachers unions have said that though they supported the curriculum reforms, the government should not hasten its implementation before comprehensive consultations.
KICD chairperson, Dr. Sara Ruto sought to allay fears that the curriculum is being undertaken in a rush, before the right structures are put in place to ensure a smooth take off.
“This is the first time in the country’s history of curriculum development that we are following all the key steps. The current 8-4-4 system of education was not piloted,” Dr Ruto said.
The curriculum will be implemented at various levels starting with the early years-Pre-primary 1 and 2, and Grade 1, 2 and 3.
In the early years, teachers are expected to focus more on listening and speaking skills as opposed to writing to ensure the children are not lost due to unnecessarily heavy work load.
”In the early years, there is a role for everybody to build the learners’ literacy skills. Writing is like running and must come later,” Dr Ruto said.
“Don’t hurry the child to run before he walks. Listening and speaking skills are vital building blocks for reading and writing.”
She appealed to parents not to relegate their duties to teachers but, help their children to go through listening, speaking, reading and writing, without being pushed to over the learning stages.
Dr Ruto further said including so many subjects in the curriculum is not the best way to inculcate the right attitudes amongst the learners, but, adopting a pro-active way of teaching.
“One requires a mental shift. This will not come from parents demanding to see magical things in their children. Learning is not measured by the amount of homework, but skills acquired,” she said.