Third Eye

We need candid conversation on school curriculum

Monday, August 1st, 2022 08:20 | By
A teacher at Consolata School in Nairobi takes her pupils through a CBC class lesson. PHOTO/File
A teacher at Consolata School in Nairobi takes her pupils through a CBC class lesson. PHOTO/File

A curriculum should ordinarily provide a feast of knowledge for growth and stimulation of the mind – especially a young mind at the foundation stages.

In devising curriculums for a child, of whatever social class, three points must be considered: the child requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as does the body.

The knowledge should be varied, for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite (curiosity). The knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language, because the child’s attention responds naturally to what is conveyed in a form they are familiar with and understand.

At this point in time, we need to remind ourselves as a nation on what is the language of instruction at the catchment level of our Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) and early learning years. Have we resourced and re-tooled our teachers well enough to deliver on this aspect of instruction?

Producing frameworks with a healthy supply of knowledge allows the learner’s mind to stay active. For example, reading creative books that are not in the curriculum books list allows thought to be constantly stimulated with challenging ideas.

It is guaranteed to bust boredom with true, real-life events and situations! It gives the learner a trove of ammunition from which to borrow when the syllabus requires more and the class mental reservoir is running on empty.

The leadership of the education sector needs to get back to us on what their individual reflections and institutions are thinking differently from us. It is not wrong for them to come to us and say: We made a mistake in the past.

If we were to be practical, what are the new areas of knowledge that we need to inculcate in the learners in school today? Are we on the right trajectory when in early years we split learning areas but start compounding them at the beginning of junior secondary? What philosophy or thesis is applied here?

Parents and boards of management, parents associations and other stakeholders need to be pragmatically brought on board for this new light to shine. We need new thinking and I dare say new light.

The dearth of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) voices on education matters does not bode well for the sector. We have to take back the hour clock and find the countering CSO voices for accountability remains an agenda for the whole nation.

We have not had proper leadership in the education sector. We need to act and do different.

If we get to a general understanding that leaders can be prosecuted for making wrong policy decisions, then we will be starting to safeguard our education sector which is the anchor of all national development.

The Cabinet Secretary who will be appointed after the election will have the task of returning education to the national discourse table and agree on what type of education we want.

Teachers need to be at the centre of the new approach since the design and instruction is their forte.

Parents, care givers and guardians, on the other hand, need to understand what the school calendar contends and what it means to them economically and plan appropriately. The knee-jerk shifts in the school calendar have hurt many households.

Teacher unions are being treated like the step-child in the process and they need to be returned to the table…this will not bode well without them for they are the fulcrum upon which education reform rotates.

Teacher unions were neutered when they were asking questions about the design and reform process in the education sector. But now we have to return to them and find our bearing and do the right thing for the future generations.

— Jonathan Wesaya is a trained teacher and policy expert —[email protected]

More on Opinion & Columnists


RECOMMENDED STORIES Opinion & Columnists