MUTHONI GAKWA: It's time to unite and re-imagine education together

"Despite the challenges, CBC holds immense potential."

In Summary
  • Despite the challenges, CBC holds immense potential when executed effectively.
  • Our community boasts over 160 education innovators who are redefining learning through competency-based education.

I first encountered the term "competency" as an adult.

My education, driven by the 844 curriculum, focused solely on one outcome: passing exams.

In primary school, I aimed for a minimum of 430 marks, which would secure my spot in a national school and make my parents proud.

However, I achieved 404/500, leaving me disappointed.

I eventually landed in a good provincial school, St. Anne's Lioki, continuing my quest for high grades, ultimately achieving a strong A-.

This achievement was my ticket to the University of Nairobi, a dream that kept me waiting for two years.

My father's recurring advice during that time was clear: "Do not get pregnant".

He enrolled me in a college to pursue a diploma in human resource management, ensuring I wouldn't remain idle.

Upon entering the university, I pursued a degree in business commerce while also earning my CPAs.

I was confident that my relentless pursuit of academic excellence and accumulating what I considered the right qualifications would lead to a well-paying job, a car, and a beautiful home within two years.

After all, dreams are valid, right?

Throughout my primary, secondary, and university life, no one prepared me for the world that awaited me.

I had not acquired the essential life skills needed to thrive.

I barely knew how to apply for a job, let alone decide what job to apply for.

Over the years of chasing high grades, my creativity had dwindled.

Muthoni Gakwa.
Muthoni Gakwa.

Despite my innate entrepreneurial spirit, the path I had learned was to secure a job, not to use my skills to tackle the societal issues I observed.

As a result, I found myself tarmacking for a job for a period longer than I had anticipated.

Years after completing my university education, I find myself in the privileged role of supporting my sister in raising her two children, aged 10 and 5.

Yes, I'm a CBC mom.

Beyond nurturing academic expertise, CBC aims to build competencies in learners, preparing them to address the challenges our nation faces and those they will encounter as individuals.

Research indicates that the challenges our children will confront as adults will be vastly different from those we face today.

It's clear that our education system needs a reimagining.

Being a CBC parent means I'm now more involved in the kids' learning, occasionally even collecting bottle tops with them in the market, or building a mud hut for a school project.

While it can be demanding, I'm committed to doing everything in my power to give these kids a brighter future, and I believe all parents share this same hope.

However, not all parents have access to the knowledge, skills, and resources required to support their children through CBC.

I once had a revealing conversation with a boda boda rider who was frustrated with CBC, feeling ill-equipped to support his children through this new system.

But how can we support parents from different backgrounds to support their children through CBC?

Both my parents are teachers, and even for them, CBC has presented challenges, particularly for my mother, who teaches in a rural school in Meru.

There has been very little support given to them both in resources and training to effectively implement CBC.

Almost all the teachers I know are committed to helping their learners succeed but lack the knowledge and skills to do so.

Despite the challenges, CBC holds immense potential when executed effectively.

Our community boasts over 160 education innovators who are redefining learning through competency-based education.

This year's ReimaginED summit, taking place at the Nairobi National Museums on November 23rd and 24th is a key event that will shape conversations around this area.

The Summit will entail on-site visits to local leaders from our community, offering immersive experiences in reimagining education.

Visits willbe conducted to remarkable organizations like The Action Foundation (TAF): Equipping teachers to Support Learners with disabilities, SHOFCO Girl’s Leadership Academies: Providing Free Education for girls in urban slums, and Jasiri Mugumo School: Cultivating inventive thinking through project-based learning.

Others are Tech Kidz Africa: Fostering a culture of creative problem-solving among young innovators, ChezaCheza: Enhancing children's mental health and well-being through dance therapy,  Book Bunk: Promoting reading culture and community transformation through library restoration, and Little Rock: Enabling children with special needs to reach developmental milestones.

It's an opportunity for us to unite and reimagine education together, as Tom Mboya wisely said, "There's no Superman, it's up to us!"


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