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Legal clash looms as date for case against CBC fixed

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022 05:21 | By
CBC Junior Secondary. PHOTO/Courtesy
Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). PHOTO/Courtesy

The Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) will come under serious scrutiny next week when the High Court sits to hear a case seeking to have it scrapped altogether.

Former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi, who has inherited the case from the initial petitioner, has moved to court seeking to have the new education curriculum scrapped on grounds that it is burdensome, costly and confusing to learners given the scarcity of facilities to embrace the new system.

“Someone tell Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha that the hearing of CBC matter is next week for three days. He is welcome to come and submit in court, in support of his position instead of continuing to mislead Kenyans on the biggest education scandal ever conceived,” Havi tweeted yesterday.

Havi argues in court papers that hat actions by Magoha and his team to introduce the new curriculum are unconstitutional and unlawful.

Judges Hedwig Ong’udi, Antony Mrima and Antony Ndung’u, who were appointed by Chief Justice Martha Koome to preside over the matter, are expected to officially commence hearing of the case challenging the legality of CBC on Tuesday, September 27. Court proceedings are likely to coincide with the formation of a task force to collect views on CBC and how best to implement it as directed by President William Ruto during his inauguration speech last week.

In June, the judges declined to terminate the case challenging CBC, whose implementation is now in Grade Six.

Allowing Havi to inherit the case from the initial petitioner Esther Ang’awa, a lawyer and a parent, Judges Ong’udi, Mrima and Ndung’u said the CBC suit raises matters of great public interest and that it will determine the well-being and future of the Kenyan child.

Judges observed that the petition challenges the authenticity of CBC, which the petitioner claims is burdensome to students and parents.

Public input

“The suit raises serious constitutional issues, which should be synthesised, articulated, digested and adjudicated before a determination is rendered,” they ruled.

Ang’awa had argued that the government did not seek public input before introducing CBC and that teachers were also side-lined, despite being implementers.

Petitioner told the court that she has lost interest in the case and sought to have her lawyer, Havi, inherit it.

In response to the petition, Magoha had asked the three judges to dismiss the petition. The CS, through Senior Counsel Philip Murgor, said the new curriculum has taken off and should not be hindered.

Declining to proceed with the case, Ang’awa claimed that since she filed the suit, she had been negatively profiled.

Yesterday, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairperson Indimuli Kahi, however, warned that it would be imprudent to scrap CBC.

“In my opinion, we cannot at this point in time talk about scrapping CBC. Asking the question whether it is working or not may not require a straight answer but what is important is of course we need to listen to what the parents are saying,” Kahi said during a TV interview.

He cautioned against the formation of a task force at a time the education sector is facing a transition from primary to Junior Secondary School. He instead called for a working committee to address a few grey areas.

“Putting a taskforce at this point may take a whole year and we have a transition to take. We need some kind of a working committee to address a few areas. Maybe look at the issue of transition and a pronouncement had already been made but that does not mean it cannot be looked at,” Kahi explained.

“Interpretation of any curriculum does not in any way say that the curriculum was rushed. Interpretation is interpretation, even if I have gone through training for four years and I fail to interpret how I need to deliver the knowledge to the child, it does not mean I was hurriedly prepared to teach,” he added.

He also said that quality assurance will remain key in ensuring that whatever goes on happens across board so that all schools can move together.

 “It will be good for this taskforce to look throughout and maybe look at the structure. Can the 2-6-3-3-3 structure be adjusted because we have done five years? And by Unesco and curriculum developers, after five years a system can easily be changed,” Kahi noted.

He added: “So we are not late and we can look at the structure and adjust it but throwing away the baby with its bathwater I think it would be too expensive.”

Some of the areas Kahi said the taskforce should consider include financing of the programme, good capacity building plan, curriculum interpretation and execution, quality assurance and preparation for senior secondary among other areas.

Review taskforce

“What we are saying is that the curriculum is good, it is important for us to look at it. We cannot compare CBC with 8-4-4 because CBC is a pedagogical approach while 8-4-4 is a structure. And this CBC is now being delivered in the structure of 2-6-3-3-3 and requires us to identify competencies and allow children take different pathways,” explained Kahi.

Last week, Havi took on teachers’ union officials who had asked President William Ruto’s government to include them in the intended CBC review taskforce.

“Akelo Misori Secretary General, Kuppet supports CBC in the petition filed against its implementation. On what basis does he demand inclusion in the task force to look into the education system and curriculum? Teachers, parents and the entire Kenyan public must call out this dishonesty,” Havi said.

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