Education CS Amina Mohamed has defended the implementation of the new school curriculum.
She said the 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum, which will replace the 32-year-old, 8-4-4 system, couldn’t wait longer.
The system was piloted in 470 schools — 10 per county — and was to continue until 2020, something the CS clarified amid opposition to the plan.
Various stakeholders, among them the Kenya National Union of Teachers, opposed the move and sought more time for the rollout of the new system.
Meeting after meeting between the ministry and the concerned parties resulted in a deadlock.
Stakeholders cited inadequate alignment between the formulation of the curriculum, teacher training needs, selection, and supply of learning materials, and assessment. Amina later announced that the pilot would continue ‘to allow more time for in-service teacher training.’
But on December 22, Amina declared the curriculum would kick off as soon as schools opened in January.
The competency-based curriculum became effective January 1 in Pre-Primary I and II as well as Grades 1, 2, and 3. Under the new curriculum, pre-primary has five lessons and seven lessons in grades one to three per day.
In an exclusive interview with the Star, Amina denied claims that she bulldozed education stakeholders into accepting the decision.
“It was not a decision that was made by me. It was a decision that was made by the steering committee,” she said.
“We had commissioned reports. An internal and external report that were both tabled with the committee highlighting the government’s readiness to proceed with the plan,” she said.
The CS added that in the next three months, she hopes that Parliament will have ratified the policy guiding the implementation.
“We have already published the policy paper. The Sessional paper is already in Parliament and we hope that MPs will give us a date to discuss it.”
The CS added that she has directed Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to ensure designs for Grade 4 is in place by March or April.
“We want this done so that publishers can start printing the books. The Kenya National Examinations Council is already working on the assessment framework. They have a deadline of up to March,” she said.
Amina said the roll-out plan was hampered by cash constraints but the government, after negotiations with the ministry, agreed to release more money.
“Since last year, we have had Sh200 million for the pilot of the curriculum this year we expect more because we negotiated for the money,” the minister said.
Amina adds that a report of the pilot in the 470 schools gave the ministry confidence that there was no need to delay the curriculum further.
“We looked at the reports from the pilot. They showed that the test was a success.”
During the pilot period, Amina said the ministry put up together the required resources, trained teachers and worked with other stakeholders to design the curriculum.
She said they held meetings with the private sector, publishers, government agencies on the resources required to roll out the curriculum.
“The discussion was on the resources required to make the roll out a success. We engaged the KICD, TSC, KNEC, unions and we started getting a mixed reaction that suggested what was required could actually be ready by March this year.”
“I presented the concerns to other government officials and we agreed the only way we were going to roll out the curriculum is if we were promised the required resources,” she stated.
Amina said with the commitment from all stakeholders and promise from the Treasury to give the required resources, there was no more reason to wait. This is despite the curriculum suffering from poor public awareness during the pilot period.
“We came out of that meeting convinced but it still took us a few more days to go through everything that had been provided to us,” she said.
Going forward, Amina said the ministry will enhance training of teachers.