• At the centre of concern is the delay in publishing textbooks set to be used for Grade 5.
• The government has identified books it prefers for coursework use, but it is yet to award contracts to the printing firms that won the tender.
The delay in publishing of textbooks and related materials may hold back the rollout of the new curriculum for Grade 5 pupils, experts have said.
The new school calendar shows that the pioneer class, currently in Grade 4, will join Grade 5 in July 2021 and transition to the final Grade 6 in April 2022.
However, the Star has established that although the government has identified books it prefers for coursework use, it is yet to award contracts to the printing firms that won the tender.
Lawrence Njagi of the Kenya Publishers Association, told the Star that publishers will be required to print 16 million books.
He said at least three months are needed for printing and another two months for distribution.
"Without the contracts, publishers cannot start the process of printing the books... The government approved the list of publishers who won the Grade 5 contracts but it is yet to award them thus they are yet to kick off the printing exercise,” Njagi told the Star on Thursday.
He said for books to be in school by July, then the printing will need to begin as early as January to avoid any delays.
The rollout to Grade 5 will mean the curriculum will remain with only one year before it is fully adopted across all classes at the primary school level.
Charles Ong'ondo, the new Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development director, said on Monday there was no intention whatsoever to push forward the implementation of the curriculum.
Essentially, the transition to the junior secondary set for 2023 will remain unaffected despite the disruption.
A complex decision on how the transition to junior secondary will happen is yet to be made.
On whether there will be exams or not for the learners to transition to secondary school still remains subject to discussion.
Education CS last year explained that the details will be clear by April next year when a task force he set up hands over its report.
Grade 4 pupils were among learners who reopened for in-person learning on October 12. The others were Standard 8 pupils and Form 4 students.