Which is the way out of new curriculum waterloo?

Thursday, May 26th, 2022 10:21 | By
Education CS George Magoha witnesses CBC assessment tests at Joytown School for the Physically Disabled in Thika recently. PHOTO/Courtesy

The chickens are coming home to roost for the Competency-Based Curriculum mandarins at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and Jogoo House bureaucrats but what happens to the innocent parents and learners now at the crossroads?

There is a window that exists but only if someone decides to bite the bullet and rides the waves now!

The political campaigns present an opportune moment for the current Education Cabinet Secretary to own up and accept there were design flows that are difficult to implement and obtain any meaningful results. The admission will send shockwaves yes but make the political leadership return education to the centre of the political rhetoric quickly.

One, the leading presidential aspirants take up the cue; as the official campaign window opens, the media and citizens of good will must press that each presidential candidate presents to the nation an education sector rescue plan.

In this plan, commitment to going back to the design room and rethink the entirety of the education sector must be clear and succinct enough that the winning candidate cannot feign colour blindness once they assume office.

We have too many children, too many lives, too many household livelihoods at stake to continue with the abrasiveness and cantankerous approach the minister fancies.

Experts and critics of the current approach should then use the window between the end of the elections and January 2023 to design short, medium and long term transition and investment plans with a clear curriculum and mode of delivery for each transition point in the sector.

We have to do this not for our egos but for generations to come. The lack of an implementation and resourcing plan for the sector has led to the sector leadership taking an incremental approach to facilitating the sector without looking at the dream and philosophy which are functions of deliberate long-term planning and deliberate engagement of all voices (supporters, experts, critics, those opposed to those who do not know what is needs!).

Michael Young in his 1971 treatise: What are schools for? Argues that schools should serve the function of helping the learners acquire not just knowledge but powerful knowledge that’s further than their social and cultural experiences.

If you take that thought and look at what we have subjected and are still subjecting our children under CBC- wearing sacks to clean markets, making scarecrows and hawking fruits and vegetables in the name of market days you see the design flow I am referring to at the start of this article.

We need to go back to the drawing board with our national dream and develop a philosophy for early years of education, primary and secondary education and ultimately post-secondary learning and specialisation based on acquired skills, tastes, preferences, talents, economic opportunities and technology related avenues and projections.

We cannot put new wine in old wine skins and keep preaching reform and the need to support our learners obtain 21st century skills while concentrating on crafts that are purely dependent on how our politicians run the economy. We need to think and stop engaging in routine bureaucracy and use of jargon to let off parents and stakeholders who wish to understand what plan the leadership of the sector has to offer.

The local knowledge that is readily available cannot be the basis for a joint curriculum and system overhaul- there must be a philosophy and a higher national dream that guides the sector like a North Star if we are serious and keen at offering something to those who are at the periphery of our broken governance system and education ( acquisition of greater knowledge and bot basic artisan skills) can be the hand that will catch them before they fall of the cliff.

— The writer is a trained teacher and education policy expert—[email protected]

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