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Spare parents the burden of books, KICD tells schools

By , People Daily Digital
Friday, August 6th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
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Parents with learners undertaking the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) need not buy the big number of textbooks schools are asking them to.

This is after the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) clarified parents do not require the many learning materials to support delivery of CBC in schools.

KICD chief executive Charles Ong’ondo yesterday said CBC does not prescribe a long list of books being demanded in schools.

According to KICD, there are various ways to promote practical learning under CBC without having to ask learners, especially those in Early Years of Education (EYE), to purchase many books.

“CBC has nothing to do with learners being asked to come to school with a heap of textbooks,” said Prof Ong’ondo, in a statement. 

His remarks come in the wake of complaints from parents, especially those with children in private schools, who have been given a long list of textbooks to buy.

Some parents have complained that CBC is expensive and urged the government to cushion them in these tough economic times.

Parents with children as young as Grade One have been required to buy 10 or more books from specific publishers, reams of printing papers and encyclopedias, among other stationery.

Wainaina Mwangi,  a parent with a child in Grade Four, complained over the long list of textbooks and stationery they are required to buy every year.

We were required to buy 13 books for Grade Four pupils, which cost us thousands of shillings.

It appears as if CBC was created to punish parents and I wonder how it will work in these tough economic times,” said Mwangi.

Expensive affair

Another parent, Nancy Akinyi, whose child joined Grade Five in one of the private schools, said the trend to buy many CBC books every year is worrying.

“We were provided with a list of 18 books that we had to buy as they resumed learning.

It is also puzzling that schools are giving instructions on specific shops where we should get the books so we barely have freedom of choice in purchasing,” she said.

Aside from textbooks, Akinyi said they were also required to buy storybooks, exercise books and stationery including crayons, erasers, manila paper in assorted colours, bottles of glue, scrapbook, display books and glue stick.

Similar sentiments were made by Sarah Wanjiru, who said CBC had turned out to be an expensive affair.

“The least you can spend on these books is Sh5,000 and this is quite expensive.

I realised that children write on some of these textbooks so there is no way it can be used by another learner; we have to keep buying every year,” said Wanjiru, a Pre-Primary 2 parent.

But yesterday Ong’ondo said the government procures books for learners in public schools and the rest are complementary learning materials that are optional.

The CEO said the curriculum designs teachers rely on to prepare learning lessons provides for suggested learning materials, which means that teachers are expected to make rational decisions on what is required to aid learning, depending on school location.

“Such cost-effective approaches to learning enhance imagination and creativity, as well as critical thinking and problem solving, which are some of the core competencies for basic education,” he added.

The official has since urged head teachers to consider selecting the most appropriate course books from the approved ones. 

Given the prevailing economic circumstances, he said, it is unfair to demand that parents buy all the books that publishers bring forward.

“Publishers have done a commendable job. We interact with great ideas during evaluation but we have to agree that not all of these books should be made compulsory to be bought by parents,” he noted.

According to Ong’ondo, schools could purchase a few of the books as reference materials by teachers and not necessarily books that pupils must have in class.

He said parents are free to choose from the wide collection of approved curriculum support materials but they should not be coerced to invest in supplementary course materials.

The Education ministry has also been categorical that no parent has been asked to buy anything and public schools are providing text books and other basic materials.

It also emphasised that the system relies heavily on improvising things and that CBC was deliberate to push for parental involvement when developing the syllabi

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has previously said CBC does not put all the focus on academics as it also aims at helping learners develop other skills.

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