• The most powerful learning for children comes from observing adults
The Competency-Based Curriculum has now been implemented fairly successfully at pre-primary school level and Grades One to Three.
As the country gets set for its implementation at Grade Four next year, it is necessary to start discussing the implications of the CBC curriculum on adults.
Prof Charles Ong’ondo, a member of the Education Taskforce, said education of children ultimately becomes the responsibility of all adults in the country. “In this sense, all adults of who are sane, responsible, law-abiding and morally upright could be said to be teachers of all younger people, especially children of schoolgoing age, one way or the other,” he said.
The implication of the emphasis on values on CBC is that the adults — in the sense of being teachers — will themselves exhibit the values desired of the children in school. CBC involves learners in practical engagements, including improvisation, creativity and field experiences, including interaction with parents and other adults.
“Nurturing these values in our learners will be a futile process if, as adults, we do not consider what the young ones are learning from our talk, behaviour and other interactions,” he says.
He says the need for infusing values in the curriculum has been made compelling and urgent with the realisation that there are many misdeeds attributed to the erosion of values in the society. These include corruption, drug abuse, murder, suicide, environmental degradation, cheating in exams, looting of property and theft.
“CBC is grounded on the need for an education system to inculcate in the learners the desire to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. These right things include but are not limited to honesty, respect, compassion, patience, tolerance, trustworthiness, responsibility, morality, responsibility and decency,” Ong’ondo said.
CBC is also hinged on the guiding principles of opportunity, excellence, inclusion, differentiated curriculum, parental engagement and Community Service Learning (CSL). It emphasises the need for the education system to engage learners in activities that would enhance patriotism, mutual social responsibility and ethical behaviour as moral foundations of the society, he says.
Ong’ondo says the guiding principles also have far-reaching implications for adults as the teachers of learners in a broader sense because one proven learning technique is observation. Our children are constantly watching adults in their spaces and picking our habits, quite unconsciously but steadily.
“The most powerful learning for children comes from observing adults around them. Therefore, CBC is also a firm reminder that Kenyan adults must henceforth ensure their individual and collective activities are consciously reviewed to reflect the values desirable of the learners and the wider society,” Ong’ondo says.
“While it is teachers who will ultimately determine whether most learners benefit from the changes, teachers can only be expected to play their central role if other groups have played, and are playing, theirs."