Taskforce asked to suspend CBC, prepare teachers for it
The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms Taskforce continued collating views on the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) across the country with some stakeholders proposing its temporary suspension to enable the government to mobilise resources.
Speakers at the various forums convened yesterday cited the issues of inadequate infrastructure and teachers, an ill-prepared teaching force and the enormous amount of money required to implement the system as some of the obstacles that call for its temporary suspension.
A number of stakeholders also proposed that Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) should be domiciled in the primary section due to the age factor of the children and the lack of enough infrastructure.
The 42-member task force has divided itself into several groups, heard that learners in grades 7, 8 and 9 who are believed to be in the age bracket of 11 and 13 years are too young to join a secondary school where they are risk of being bullied by their seniors aged between 14 and 17 years.
Receiving views in Bungoma, Nyeri, Nyamira, Mombasa and Kisii counties, the task force was also told how the decision by the previous government to rush through the implementation of CBC had dented the image of an otherwise noble system of education.
In Mombasa, the team led by Technical University of Mombasa Vice Chancellor Prof Laila Abubakari heard that CBC should be suspended for some time as the country reverts to the 8-4-4 system to enable the government to mobilise enough resources for its implementation.
The clamour for the suspension of CBC was led by National Parent’s Association Mombasa chairman Robert Opemi who asked the government to either ready itself to cater for the huge cost of the system or suspend it for 10 years as it mobilises resources.
“As parents, we are the most affected, because we were not involved, and the burden was then thrown on us, what we are saying is, if the government does not finance the cost of CBC, then it should suspend it for 10 years as we review it,” said Opemi.
He said the government should provide free education, as it had promised, to ease the economic burden on parents adding that the government should finance the system so that quality education can be provided.
According to Linda Kamonde, a parent with three children under CBC, she has been subjected to unbearable pain, owing to the demands that come with CBC. Linda, who hawks vegetables say her children are likely to drop out of school because she is unable to finance their education.
Kenya National Union of Teachers Mombasa secretary Dan Aloo proposed for consolidation of the Board of Management and Parents Teachers Association to avoid duplication of roles. He also called on the government to ensure madrassa teachers are absorbed by the TSC.
Another group led by Purity Mbabu, while receiving views at Nyeri High School, was told to consider the age factor when making the final decision on where to domicile the JSS.
Lay Canon Nderitu Gichuki of the Anglican Church of Kenya said learners at the age of 11 years still required close parental guidance.“We cannot take our children to secondary schools at that very tender age the environment will not be good for them due to safety,” he said.
His remarks were also supported by Nyeri Town MP Maina Mathenge who said that secondary schools lack the infrastructural capacity to hold learners at that level. “Junior learners must not be taken to secondary schools. They should remain in primary schools and take lessons in reconfigured classrooms in line with the need of this curriculum,” the MP said.
However, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association Nyeri representative Cyrus Wachira insisted that primary schools lacked the capacity as they do not have the laboratories required to undertake practical lessons.
In Bungoma, stakeholders led by Kibabii University vice-chancellor Prof Odoe Ipara said the government would be required to undertake serious awareness campaigns to make Kenyans accept CBC following the damage caused by politicians during the last campaigns.
During the campaigns, Prof Ipara said politicians had poisoned Kenyans’ minds with all sorts of negative claims against CBC which would take time to disapprove.
Speaking at St Theresa’s Sio secondary school, Prof Ipara said politicians had painted CBC as one of the worst education systems being imposed on Kenyans by the government.
The Kenya Secondary Heads Association (KESHA) in Bungoma asked for the suspension of CBC implementation due to a lack of infrastructure.
Led by their chairman Robert Nabiswa, the principals said they also don’t have teachers who had been trained to teach in junior secondary.
At Sironga Technical Institute in Nyamira, the task force team led by Dr Richard Githiji was told that the implementation of CBC was quite an expensive affair to be left to parents and teachers alone.