Political goodwill critical for success of CBC education system

In Summary

•For the last 2 decades ;we have had a ballooning gap between fresh graduates from our learning institutions and the job market.

•The majority from the Universities, TVET’s and vocational institutes are literally unable to effectively  compete  or render skills.

Dennis Wendo.
Dennis Wendo.
Image: COURTESY

The adoption of the recent task force report on Competency Based Curriculum by the Kenyan Government under the stewardship of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta is timely.

The report encapsulates the key issues and related recommendations that will enhance effective implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) reforms as stipulated in the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (KICD, 2017), Competency Based Assessment Framework and respective curriculum designs and programmes. The recommendations, policies and guidelines must not be kept under the carpet nor enforced partially.

The Taskforce on Enhancing Access, Relevance, Transition, Equity and Quality for Effective Curriculum Reforms Implementation interpreted and responded to each of its Terms of Reference (TORs) within the overall mandate of advising the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, on issues, policies and strategies that the education sector needs to address in order to ensure access, relevance, transition, equity and quality for effective curriculum reforms implementation; critical moving forward.

The redesign and reengineering of the current education system is based on the need to address existing gap challenges on skill based programs; foster progressive career and talent nurturing paths as part of an antidote to the current massive unemployment among the youths.

For the last 2 decades ;we have had a ballooning gap between fresh graduates from our learning institutions and the job market in the country with a majority from the Universities, TVET’s and vocational institutes being literally unable to effectively  compete  or render skills for either lack of  proper hands-on training or half-baked preparations. This explains to one reason why our youths have resorted to alternative ways of making ends meet through criminal related activities; both physical and digital, drug and substance trafficking; terrorism; radicalization and violent extremism.

The new CBC system proposes a seamless transition from Basic Education to TVET on the backdrop of learners having specialized in the relevant areas at Senior Secondary School level, including dual certification depending on learner’s ability and career interests. Further, some programmes in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector have adopted Competency Based Teacher Education (CBET) which is closely aligned to the CBC approach; these are good proposals if implemented to the latter.

The current scenario is alarming; with fresh graduates in different fields of study from TVETs and vocational learning institutes having spent time and resources can neither fix nor repair minor computer, automobile, plumbing, masonry, woodworks, cookery or electrical related problems.  The task force report has outlined recommendations, policies and guidelines on the following areas:   Transitioning and Domiciling of Junior Secondary School (JSS); Transitioning Junior Secondary School learners to Senior Secondary School (SSS); Transition from Basic to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); Transition of the First CBC Cohort from Basic to University Education; Special Needs Education; Competency Based Assessment (CBA); Pre-Service Competency Based Teacher Education (CBTE); Design and Implementation of Parental Empowerment and Engagement (PEE), Value-Based Education (VBE) and Community Service Learning (CSL) Programmes; Policy and Legal Issues for Effective Curriculum Reforms Implementation; Policy and Legal Issues for Effective Curriculum Reforms Implementation; Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Strategy and Framework for Supporting Effective Implementation of Curriculum Reforms; Standards and Quality of Basic Education and Training for Effective Implementation of Curriculum Reforms; Governance, Financing and Integration of ICT; Comprehensive Communication on Implementation of the Curriculum Reforms; what then remains is the practical  implementation of the new system by the current and post-coming governments.

The political class by virtue of parenthood and policy makers and oversight providers must take a lead-role, indepthly study the recommendations and provide synergies, conducive environment and sufficient government funding including but not limited to reaching out to social partners for the success of the new system.

It is applaudable to the Jubilee regime for the initiative taken to establish aTVET institution in each and every sub-county with collective funding from the National and Constituency development fund. The efforts move further by ensuring that TVET students stand eligible for educational funds from the government and higher education loans board. As we focus towards adopting the CBC system; special emphasis must be redirected to our tertiary and vocational institutions to ensure they are well equipped with modern, upto market training tools and syllabuses as well as training capacity personnel. This will help in establishing sustainable and value-addition programs geared towards addressing unemployment in the country.  

Dennis Wendo is the founder/CEO- Integrated Development Network

Email: [email protected]