Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) is not a System of Education but a curriculum just like Advance (A)-Level Curriculum and Ordinary(O)-Level Curriculum.
The proponents of the CBC in their “imagination” proposed the use of a new Education System as opposed to 8-4-4 model to help in the implementation of the curriculum in question.
It’s worth noting that the proposed new System (Model) of Education to help in realisation of CBC is 2-3-3-3-3-3 or simply 2-6-6-3. Where;
Once Learners complete grade 6 which is the highest at primary level, they shall proceed to Junior Secondary (Grade 7,8 9). The Ministry of Education has already hinted and confirmed that Learners from Primary shall transit to Junior Secondary School which is closest to their primary Schools to avoid any significant change in the Learners’ previous environment. From Junior Secondary School, the learners shall either proceed to Senior Secondary School in the same School( incase the same School offers the path of that learner) or choose to change. The choice of the transition to Senior Secondary School shall be greatly dependent on the path of an individual Learner since some Senior Secondary Schools will specialise in a particular path. The choice of a career path is done at the end of Junior Secondary level which is equal to the current form one learner.
But what concerns me most, why did the proponents of CBC not choose to implement it using the existing System (Model) of Education which is 8-4-4 without necessarily causing a lot of disturbance?,,And did the proponents consider the Mackey’s report of 1982 which specifically noted with great concern the gap that was in the Ominde proposed Education System 7-4-2-3?,,Was Mackey’s finding that Learners from 7-4-2-3 System transting to high School from Primary was doing so at a relatively tender age and so experience challenges in High School hence the proposal to increase Primary to 8 years from 7 in 8-4-4 System?,,Was a research carried out to negate this school of thought by Mackay and team?
Ironically, if by any chance the original system had primary Section taking 7 Years and was criticised negatively, how comes CBC which has 6 Years primary is considered appropriate? Additionally, how rational would it be to allow a learner who is slightly a bout 14-15 years old to Choose a career path for himself and this is the appropriate age that the child is practically starting to go through a “reality identification stage”. The proponents of original 8-4-4 considered this and placed the career identification stage to start at Form 3 when the learner is about 17-18 years old. This in my scholarly argument is very realistic considering the mental reality development cycle.
The above aside, is CBC really a completely new thing in the Kenyan Education System?,,The automatic direct answer is NO..then why introducing it if it’s not new?,,,The idea of introducing CBC curriculum is “timely” according to my analysis. The current 8-4-4 system is a completely mutilated system that nolonger stand for anything. The proponents of the original 8-4-4 system wanted an Education System that basically focuses on development of Values, Self Reliance and Good Communication Skills. This was the essence of inclusion of technical subjects, applied subjects, value based subjects and languages in 8-4-4. The original 8-4-4 was thorough. Learners were taken through 12 core subjects namely:
Mathematics, English, Kiswahili,Local Language (Early years), Science Subjects, Agriculture, Home Science, Music, Art and Craft, CRE/IRE, Business Education, GHC( Social Studies)
Others were: Physical Health Education and PPI
At Secondary Level, before Learners chose their Paths, they were introduced to Social Education and Ethics to handle values and ethics…as they progress to form 3, Learners could chose paths which was distinct. There were those who could choose pure Sciences and those who could choose Humanities and Social Sciences.
So what is exactly new in the current CBC if what is being implemented in schools is basically all the subjects which were scrapped and blamed on 8-4-4 as burdening on Learners. From my simple analysis, the only subjects’ areas which have been introduced are;
2. Life Skills
3. Sports Education
4. Additional foreign languages because initially it was only French and Germany. Not Arabic and Mandarin.
Additionally, the other noticeable addition to the original 8-4-4 is the introduction of a distinct path called Art and Sports to take care of talent development and integrating ICT. This is basically in order. But again what stopped the boardroom decision makers from just reverting to the original 8-4-4, modernize it abit and reintoduce arts and sports as a full subject path.
The above is a justification that boardroom decision makers are the problem. There was no need of mutilating the 8-4-4. It was basically good. It was practical oriented, it was career oriented, it was holistic. But again, even if it could have remained unmutilated, there was still need to modify it. Education curriculum worldwide is generally reviewed to take into consideration environmental changes, emerging issues and societal transformation caused by modernity.
Considering the factors prompting a change in the curriculum, it’s therefore empirical that Kenyan Curriculum needed a change to cater for the a bove stated factors. The need to align Curriculum to societal needs is paramount. The need to incorporate ICT in our curriculum is impeccably necessary. CBC captures these basic necessary modifications. However, the proponents of CBC failed to consider the following;
1. Kenya is a very poor country technologically. Using technology as a Key ingredient in CBC is misadvised. We must work on improving our information technological system first
2. The syllabus designers and publishers were simply carried away by this CBC thing. The syllabus and books are not correlated to the curriculum. This is one greatest reason that CBC is “dead” on arrival.
3. The CBC curriculum as it is requires real teaching aids for practical work. The curriculum is practical oriented. Until the government offers funds to schools or send teaching aids to schools, nothing will be going on.
4 So long as schools don’t have designated and well equipped practical rooms/work shops/Computer rooms with Internet connections then CBC is dead
5. If teachers are not taken through comprehensive inservice training on these unique subject areas( competency areas) which some of them never interacted with in their course of education, then delivery of the content shall be compromised.
6. If teachers are not properly in-servised on assessment methodology, then the whole process will be a sham…
The views expressed in this opinion piece are his and do not necessarily represent the position of Kisasa News in any way.