Publishers, schools in limbo after new curriculum shelved

Wednesday December 12 2018

Education Principal Secretary Bellio Kipsang and Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed before the Senate Education committee on December 11, 2018, concerning the implementation of the new curriculum. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Confusion continued to reign on Wednesday following the announcement by the Ministry of Education of the indefinite suspension of the new curriculum's rollout.

The new curriculum was to be rolled out from nursery school to class three while piloting in class four was to start next year. This after two years of piloting for the lower classes.


On Wednesday, publishers warned that they will lose billions of shillings, since they put money in the publishing of new learning materials.

Parents also raised concerns about the decision, saying that most of them had bought books.

They wondered what will happen to children who are supposed to revert to the old curriculum.


Donors and other partners had also pumped in billions of shillings for the provision of new learning materials

Millions of shillings were also used to host two national conferences as well as pay several consultants hired to drive the process.


Private schools described the development as disturbing, saying many resources will go to waste.

"On the new curriculum implementation, the position of the KPSA has been very clear; forward ever backward never. We started it. We must live with it and continuously improve/work on its challenges to make it better as we move along," said a statement from the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA).

The association insisted that the government must release the Grade Four designs and allow teachers to prepare for next term.

Parents association chairman Nicholas Maiyo said they were surprised by the government's sudden change of heart.

"We were prepared for the new curriculum and had purchased books. Now we don't know what to do," said Mr Maiyo.

The national steering committee meeting which was to take place on Thursday has been postponed indefinitely.

However, international evaluators of the curriculum are expected to deliver the report on the new curriculum on Monday to Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.


Ms Mohamed's announcement came as a surprise to many Kenyans, including those tasked with reviewing the curriculum.

Many described the minister's remarks as personal, noting that she had not consulted all stakeholders in the education sector.

It however emerged that the decision to cancel the rollout was based on an interim report of external evaluators.

They observed that teachers were not well prepared and the curriculum policy was not ready among others.

A final evaluation report by a government agency on curriculum review, that also pointed out several gaps, is believed to have made CS Mohamed suspend the rollout.


In October this year, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) presented a report on an internal evaluation of the new curriculum to the national curriculum steering committee which was chaired by Ms Mohamed.

The report highlighted a number of successes but also identified several gaps which included teachers' struggle with the concept and lack of the capacity that the new system demands.

It also emerged that schools did not have learning materials despite the two-year piloting.

This forced the CS to seek the services of an external evaluator in order to triangulate the findings with that of KICD’s internal Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC).

On Tuesday, however, Ms Mohamed shocked Kenyans when she announced that the implementation of new curriculum had been suspended despite not having the report.

Members of international evaluation teams are expected to present their report to the Cabinet secretary on Monday so it is not clear what her decision will be, given that she already announced that the country is not ready for the new curriculum.

“We are done with the report and we will be handing it over to Ms Mohamed at Jogoo House,” said a member of the team and who did not want to be named. The member declined to give the details of the report.


In the KICD report, some of the challenges that were identified were the availability of books in most private schools but a near total lack in public schools, a circumstance that compromises the delivery of CBC.

It added that only a few public schools had organised and bought a few text books for teachers.

Some teachers seemed fired up with the CBC pedagogy – the methods were easily implemented and their students were enjoying learning.

However, in other schools, teachers were struggling with the concept and lacked the capacity demanded by the CBC, noted the report.

The report also raised concerns over lack of collaboration among government agencies.

The KICD recommended continuous in-service programmes to guide teachers on the requirements for the CBC. It also advised capacity building focused on assessment rubrics, pedagogy and inclusiveness.

The ministry and the KICD were also advised to ensure course books and teachers' guides are availed to schools and teachers encouraged to use available teaching and learning materials.

Other recommendations were for schools to buy enough books for all students and for capacity building for civil society organisations and quality assurance and standards officers to enable them mentor and support teachers effectively.