The roll-out of grade four in the next two months is on course amidst optimism that the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) will improve the quality of education.
Distribution of grade four CBC aligned government procured textbooks to more than 22,000 public primary schools across the country commenced last month and expected to be finalized by end of November.
This followed a directive by the Ministry of Education to Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and publishers that the distribution of Grade 4 textbooks should not be delayed.
During a meeting held at KICD, the Deputy Director-Primary Education at the Ministry of Education, Ms Nereah Olick said that a list of enrollment numbers of learners per school prepared by the ministry had been shared with the publishers.
The list will help in determining the number of books that should be given to each school, a measure meant to ensure that schools do not end up with excess or less books.
Ms Olick assured the publishers that the Ministry supports the exercise and challenged them to freely share any challenges they experience on the ground saying the lessons learnt will help streamline the process.
She warned that there will be no extension of the exercise and warned publishers that shall not comply with the strict deadline for distributing the books risk having their contract cancelled.
The publishers and the distributors will have to first contact sub-county education officers at their respective jurisdictions before moving out to deliver the books in schools.
A list of the approved books has been made public-in the mainstream media and on the KICD website-to ensure parents and teachers are well guided
“You need to work as a team and ensure that Grade 4 textbooks are delivered to every school and in time ahead of the rollout of the CBC in grade four, next year,” KICD Chief Executive Officer, Dr Julius Jwan told the publishers. Any delays or deviation from the schedule, he added, will not be tolerated.
The Kenya Publishers Association Chairman, Mr. Lawrence Njagi has assured Kenyans that the books will be delivered as required and publishers are already working round the clock to ensure the distribution process remains above board.
Mr Njagi also asked publishers to adhere to their contractual obligations with the government and ensure that only the high quality Grade 4 textbooks that were approved for distribution end up in schools.
“We don’t want short-cuts or any sideshows that could derail the process. The approved books must be available in schools and bookshops in time so that unscrupulous traders don’t take advantage of a shortage to dupe parents into buying wrong books,” Mr Njagi said.
The books to be distributed are; Kiswahili, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, CRE, IRE, Home science, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Music, Arts and Craft, Physical and Health Education. The government provides only one course book per learning area.
The review of the curriculum occupies an integral part of the education reforms agenda. This is the first time a curriculum reform process has been introduced in a very systematic manner.
The curriculum being used in schools was last reviewed in 2003, yet the standard procedure is that, it should be done after every five years, to capture emerging issues that can enhance teaching and learning.
The CBC is tailor made to respond to the learners’ unique needs given their various growth and development stages.
Under the new system of education, which is learner centred, continuous assessment at school level will be emphasized as opposed to one off examinations.
Dr Jwan stated that curriculum designs previously referred to as syllabuses developed for teaching and learning under CBC respond to emerging national and global education needs while inculcating best values in learners.
The curriculum designs developed are comprehensive after they were revised to include core competences as well as pertinent and contemporary issues to ensure learning is all rounded.
The curriculum designs provide suggested learning activities, teaching methodology, assessment, resources and time required to cover various topics, thus giving guidance for planning of lessons.
There is clarity in the curriculum designs on the methodology of undertaking the activities, resources required and the time the activities will take.
“It is easy and exciting to engage learners with content that has a lot of activities to build competency as opposed to just the ability to remember and reproduce. This is the gist of competency based learning,” KICD director explains.
Parents, will be actively involved in monitoring the education of their children especially when the learners are away from school to ensure they continuously practice what they learn.
Competencies cannot be demonstrated in school alone. A lot of learning takes place out of schools even when pupils are in their normal social and cultural environment. The real-life experiences are critical for development of competences.