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Key talks to determine fate of new curriculum

Saturday December 15 2018

STUDENT UNREST

Education Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang addressing students of Shimo La Tewa High School on July 10, 2018. A meeting of the National Steering Committee will take place at KICD offices. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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Two key meetings hurriedly convened by the Ministry of Education are set to determine the fate of the new curriculum after Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Tuesday declared that the country is not ready for the roll-out.

On Friday evening, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), which is tasked with the review process, directors at the ministry and the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) held a meeting to re-look at the development and the way forward.

HEAVY INVESTMENT

The meeting was also attended by Education Principal Secretary Bellio Kipsang. Ms Mohamed was expected to join the meeting after a graduation ceremony at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University in Bondo. On Saturday, another meeting of the National Steering Committee will take place at KICD offices, and will be presided over by Ms Mohamed.

The meeting comes in the wake of protests from parents and other stakeholders over the decision to suspend the roll-out. They have cited heavy investment that had been put in the programme.

The Saturday Nation has learnt that some of the proposals being put on the table to save the new curriculum is that piloting be done again for the third year in order to ensure that all stakeholders are prepared. According to the proposal, the piloting will be redone from Class One to Three while pupils in Class Four will revert to the old curriculum to allow for better preparations.

IGNORED ADVICE

The CS made the shocking revelation even before she received a report from external evaluators in order to compare it with that of an internal evaluator, which was released in October. The internal evaluator had indicated that the country was ready for the roll-out.

On Thursday, a meeting of the National Steering Committee was postponed after Ms Mohamed’s remarks.

The committee members are drawn from religious organisations, universities, secondary schools, civil society and teachers' unions. It is tasked with providing guidance on policy requirements for the different levels of education relating to development, implementation and assessment of curriculum for education and training. The team also coordinates the development of budgets and implementation framework for the reformed curriculum.

While making the remarks on the roll-out, Ms Mohamed had not consulted the committee members and many of them were surprised with the change of tune. She will now be meeting education officials among other stakeholders days after she ignored their advice and told the Senate Education Committee that the country is not ready for the roll-out.

CONDEMNED DECISION

The meeting is expected to state a clear road map on the way forward as parents have already purchased books for the new curriculum.

Private schools have also hit out at Ms Mohamed for failing to consult stakeholders before making pronouncements.

Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) Chairperson Mutheu Kasanga condemned Ms Mohamed's decision to ignore the call by the stakeholders for a meeting to review and advice on the way forward on curriculum implementation from as early as February 2018.

“Severally meetings have been requested but no response has been forthcoming. This made some of us believe that all was well and that she meant well for the education sector. The decision to pronounce the suspension of the curriculum without the benefit of stakeholder’s consultation to assess its implications smacks of incompetence and is highly irresponsible, a situation that is extremely demoralising and frustrating to the parents and children who cannot now plan for their future with certainty,” said Ms Kasanga.

DESERVE APOLOGY

She said children and their parents deserve an explanation and unreserved apology from the leadership of the ministry for the confusion.

“KPSA as key stakeholders will not accept anything short of full implementation for the new curriculum up to Grade 3. We have been preparing our parents, children and teachers. We appreciate the fact that challenges will always be there but they should not stand in the way of implementation. They can be sorted out as we move along.”